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Rishi Sunak drops plan to fine patients £10 for missing GP appointments

Rishi Sunak has scrapped his pledge to charge people for missing GP appointments.

During the summer Conservative leadership contest, Mr Sunak pledged to introduce a £10 fine.

Sunak responds to criticism over 'massive failure of leadership' - latest updates

The prime minister wants to deliver a stronger NHS and the "sentiment remains people should not be missing appointments", according to his spokesperson.

But they added: "We have listened to GPs and NHS leaders and agreed now is not the time to take this policy forward."

Mr Sunak visited Croydon University Hospital in south London on Friday, where he was asked about nurses' pay.

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NHS staff including nurses and porters are currently voting on strike action over pay.

Research commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing suggested that they are working an extra day a week for no more pay.

The data also suggests their wages have fallen 20% in real terms, based on a five-day week.

PM dodges salary question on hospital visit

Dodging a question on nurses' salaries, Mr Sunak said: "It is brilliant to be here at Croydon Hospital, to see the great work of the doctors and nurses here.

"One of the priorities for my government is going to be tackling the COVID backlogs and supporting the NHS.

"We face lots of challenges as a country, but I am confident that we can fix the economy and deliver on the promise of the 2019 manifesto, including having a stronger NHS."

The PM was confronted by 77-year-old Catherine Poole, a patient, who said it was a "pity you don't pay them more".

Mr Sunak replied by saying: "We're trying," to which she said: "You need to try harder."

As chancellor, Mr Sunak brought in a 1.25% increase in National Insurance to help pay for fixing COVID backlogs in health and social care.

His predecessor Liz Truss reversed the measure because of the cost-of-living crisis.