My second job as a doctor makes me a better MP, says under-fire Conservative
PUBLISHED: 13:51 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:52 23 October 2018
An MP criticised for taking on a second job as a doctor has said the hospital work he does strengthens rather than hinders his work as a politician.
The parliamentary register of interests shows that from August 1, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dan Poulter spent 112 hours a month - more than 25 a week - working at a hospital in London.
Some have criticised Dr Poulter for the move, saying that with a £77,000 salary as an MP he should be 100% focused on his role in Parliament.
According to the entry of member’s interests during August his hospital work earned him a further £3,449. If he earns that every month, it would come to £41,000 a year.
However Dr Poulter said that his role as a doctor dealing with people who have mental health problems enables him to understand better the pressures faced by people in the real world.
He has also received the overwhelming backing of his constituency Conservative Association – whose chairman said the members “totally supported” their MP’s work as a doctor alongside his political role.
The MP said this workload did not affect his work in Parliament – he worked at the hospital on some morning shifts when the House of Commons does not sit. And during August Parliament was in recess.
He has attended fewer Commons votes than many of his colleagues – but he was ill at the start of the year. Over recent months he said his attendance had been similar to other MPs.
He was doing the same amount of hospital work as he had done ever since he stood down as a junior health minister in 2015. His work also includes does some on-call night shifts and weekend work – he will be working over the Christmas holiday period.
He said: “All my work is within the NHS. I do not do private health work. I see people with drug and alcohol problems, who are homeless or who are struggling with benefits problems – it’s given me a real insight into how government decisions affect people.”
Association chairman Robin Vickery said: “We accept he is doing medical work – it is good to have an MP who is in the real world and not just a professional politician.
“I think everyone is pleased with the work Dan does in and for the constituency and we are looking forward to him fighting again at the next election.”