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The Who’s Roger Daltrey blames “my generation” for NHS crisis

Roger Daltrey has blamed his generation for the ongoing NHS crisis, and called on the service to cut the salaries of its top executives.

The Who frontman shared his thoughts on the ongoing healthcare crisis in a new interview with The Times, and revealed that he partly blames his generation for putting strain on the service and reducing the service offered to young people.

“I’m in the way,” the 79-year-old told the outlet. “All us old farts, we really are just in the way of the young now, aren’t we?”

The rock singer, who famously sang the line “I hope I die before I get old”, also learned of a young cancer patient who was forced to get a private scan to be diagnosed with stage four Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of blood cancer.

“For fuck’s sake… Let’s just die!” he said. “Get me and my lot out the way. It’s crazy.”

As highlighted by The Independent, Daltrey previously lost his sister to breast cancer when she was 32, hence wanting to prioritise the treatment of young people over his own health.

Roger Daltrey of The Who performs at The O2 Arena on July 12, 2023 in London, England. CREDIT: Matthew Baker/Getty Images

Elsewhere in the interview, Daltrey also criticised the hefty salaries of NHS executives and suggested that this be reduced to help support nurses and improve hospital wards.

“More than 50 per cent of the NHS budget isn’t spent here on wards,” he said, questioning why those higher up needed “£400,000 or £500,000 a year of public money”.

“I’ll tell you how to pay the nurses more: cut down on executive pay,” he added. “That’s my opinion. I’ll get slaughtered for saying it, but you’ve got to be tough. They [the political parties] make the NHS this political football in elections. They’re using us and it needs to stop.”

Clarifying that he is not unwell currently, the singer did say he would consider assisted dying if he became a “burden”.

“My dreams came true so, listen, I’m ready to go at any time,” he concluded. “My family are all great and all taken care of. You’ve got to be realistic. You can’t live your life forever. Like I said, people my age, we’re in the way. There are no guitar strings to be changed on this old instrument.”

Roger Daltrey of The Who performs at Firenze Rocks 2023 at Visarno Arena on June 17, 2023 in Florence, Italy.
Roger Daltrey of The Who performs at Firenze Rocks 2023 at Visarno Arena on June 17, 2023 in Florence, Italy. CREDIT: Roberto Serra – Iguana Press/Getty Images

Daltrey’s thoughts on the NHS crisis come following news that he will be stepping down from his role as Teenage Cancer Trust gig curator.

The benefit shows have been taking place at the Royal Albert Hall since 2000 – although took a break in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. Since its initiation, it has raised more than £32million in ticket sales and has gone on to support those struggling with cancer.

He will be stepping down from the role after this year’s set of concerts, featuring performances from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Chemical Brothers and Young Fathers.

Last year, Daltrey also spoke to NME about the current state of the National Health Service, and recalled the importance that the Teenager Cancer Trust had in supporting young people diagnosed with cancer.

“We’ve done remarkably well, but it’s not to say we can’t do better,” he said. “One of the problems we have, of course, is that we have to work in the NHS, although we’re not a part of it. And if [the patients’] GP or their consultant, and their clinician doesn’t refer them to Teenage Cancer Trust, they don’t even know we’re there, and it’s tragic.”

He also explained how “late diagnosis, misdiagnosis and terrible tragedies” are a result of the ongoing “problems with our health service”, adding: “Our system is so flawed with bureaucracy and different systems within systems. You pull your hair out if you try to understand it. It’s a broken system, and no political party has got the balls to fix it. I don’t know how you fix it. But we are lied to about other systems around the world, which function far better than ours.”

Find out more about the charity here.

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