Boris Johnson has said the Tories “have got to do better” on the NHS after key figures showed the service was performing at the worst level on record.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock was accused of being “staggeringly out of touch” after he claimed on Thursday that the NHS was performing “better than it ever has”.
After official figures showed a record 4.42 million people were waiting for treatment, the Prime Minister – who has made the NHS a key battleground in the election – said they had to do more.
“We have got to do better, I don’t deny that,” he told the BBC’s Breakfast programme.
“That doesn’t mean that I am not incredibly proud of what the NHS is achieving. We have amazing staff and amazing doctors and, yes, we need to be investing more in them.
“That is exactly what we are doing.”
Mr Johnson, who faced criticism for his response to the floods in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, said he understood the angry reaction from some residents when visited.
“I understand how they feel. There is always more that you can do. You can never do enough,” he said.
He said the Government was providing support to the area with full council tax relief and business rate relief for affected homes and businesses.
He added: “There is a huge amount of work that has been going on around the clock.
“We will make sure the insurers don’t weasel out of their obligations to flood victims and we will be bringing forward further packages of compensation.
“What we have got to do is to continue to invest in flood defences.”
On immigration, Mr Johnson said the Conservatives’ plans for a points-based system meant they would be able to cut the number of unskilled workers coming to the UK.
As a result, overall levels would come down, he said – although he refused to say by how much.
“We have been running very high rates of immigration for a long time,” he said.
“When it comes to unskilled immigration for people who don’t have a job to come to, we will get the numbers down.
“Overall, as a result it will be lower. I am not going to get into a numbers game. What we can do is bring immigration down for unskilled people who don’t have jobs to go to.”