Rod Stewart visits an Essex hospital and pays for a day of patients’ MRI scans | Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart visited his local NHS hospital on Friday and paid for a day of patient scans to reduce waiting lists.

The 78-year-old singer-songwriter said he wanted to “prove I’m not just lips and pants” and added that he would like to pay for scans elsewhere in the UK.

Stewart’s donation included a day of patient scans at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, which were carried out in the mobile MRI scanning unit of private medical company InHealth.

Stephanie Lawton, the hospital’s chief operating officer, said his move would help reduce waiting lists by around 10%, or about 20 patients.

Last month, Stewart called into a live phone segment on Sky News and offered to pay people for hospital X-rays, describing it as “ridiculous” that people had to wait so long for necessary scans and treatment. Stewart had previously been a Conservative supporter, but said during the show that “the government should now step down and give Labor a chance”.

Explaining on Friday how the philanthropic gesture came about, Stewart said: “Just got back from a scan at a private clinic near Harley Street.

“I walked in and said, ‘I’m terribly sorry, I’m half an hour late.’ They said, “don’t worry, there’s hardly anyone here today.”

“There were eight people who had almost nothing to do. Then I thought it was a terrible injustice, so here we are.

Stewart with Omarie Ryan having an MRI of his left knee.
Stewart with Omarie Ryan having an MRI of his left knee. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA

The singer said he would like to pay for the scans elsewhere.

“If it’s a big success, which I think it will be, I’d like to do it in Belfast, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and just keep it going, hoping other people will follow me.

“Because I want to prove that I’m not just mouth and pants and that’s why I’m here to prove that I did it, OK people.”

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He added: “There must be enough money in the coffers to pay these nurses – just two years ago we were clapping and now … Bless them, they work so hard, salt of the earth.”

Pressed on the state of the NHS, the pop star said: “We really need to sort this out. We’re in serious trouble.

“If I’m going to go into politics, I think we should send the Ukrainians F-16s. It’s up to the Prime Minister.”

Lawton added: “Rod is a local resident, we are his local hospital, we are really delighted to be able to work with him and his team for the benefit of patients and do everything we can to shorten waiting lists.”

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