Grant Shapps reveals his father is in hospital with coronavirus

Emma Bowden, PA

The Transport Secretary has revealed that his father is on a coronavirus ward in hospital as he praised NHS staff working under “relentless pressure”.

Grant Shapps said that his 89-year-old father has been on a coronavirus ward for “quite some time” after contracting the virus in hospital.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain following an interview with a doctor at Whiston Hospital on Merseyside, Mr Shapps paid tribute to healthcare staff caring for his father.

“The work they (NHS staff) do is incredible, I speak to them every single day, of course, we have not been able to visit my dad for two months now,” he said.

“What they have been doing for nearly a year now has been extraordinary and, as you said, it has of course been worse now, even though numbers are coming down in hospital.”

Talking to the ITV programme on Wednesday, the Welwyn Hatfield MP said his father had been moved to a smaller coronavirus ward the day prior due to the hospital starting to see a reduction in patients.

He added: “But even now, even with that reduction, it’s still higher than it was in the first peak so we are not out of this yet, we just need to adhere to the lockdown and to the rules to stop more people ending up in those hospitals.”

Asked about carrying out the role of Cabinet minister while his father is unwell, he said: “It is very difficult. I know that quite often people think that people in authority or power or in public service live a different, gilded life.

“The truth is, you live the same life as everyone else, and coronavirus, that gets everybody, got my dad.

“It wasn’t the reason he went into hospital originally but unfortunately he did pick it up and we’re all very worried.”

Mr Shapps said that he had been speaking to nurses about his father’s condition when possible, but said staff were “very, very pressed” and that hospitals remained under “immense pressure”.

“I do just pay tribute to their extraordinary patience,” he added.

“Not only with the patients themselves, who sometimes can be quite distressed as my dad has been, but also just the relentless pressure of this and the hours that they have been working.”

From Our Partners