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5 Feb, 2018 13:59

‘International Health Service’: Is Trump taking cues from Farage in his NHS criticism?

‘International Health Service’: Is Trump taking cues from Farage in his NHS criticism?

US President Donald Trump attacked Britain’s “broke” National Health Service (NHS) in a tweet that came just minutes after Brexiteer Nigel Farage appeared on Fox News to blame immigrants for stretched UK health services.

Trump immediately came under fire when he tweeted that thousands of people “are marching in the UK” because the NHS is “going broke.”

His tweet came after Farage, apparently one of his closest friends from the UK, blasted the government’s immigration policies. He claimed immigrants have turned the National Health Service into the “International Health Service.”

“Well the problem we’ve got is a population crisis caused by government policy on immigration,” Farage told Fox News on Monday.

The problem is we haven’t got enough hospitals, we haven’t got enough doctors, we haven’t got enough facilities. Another problem we’ve got is the National Health Service has become the International Health Service.

We’ve got a lot of people coming into Britain from all over the world so we do need absolutely fundamental reforms,” he added.

Trump later sent another tweet praising Fox News for “exposing the truth.”

Trump’s tweet refers to the mass ‘Save our NHS’ protest on Saturday which saw tens of thousands of people walking to Downing Street in London to demand Prime Minister Theresa May inject more funds into the crisis-hit NHS.

The US leader’s remarks risk stirring up further anger among Brits after he previously claimed the UK is riddled with terrorists – prompting calls for the president's invitation for a state visit to Britain to be revoked.

Just 10 days ago, Trump seemed to have made up with PM May when the pair pledged to work closely together as they met in Davos for the first time since the president retweeted anti-Muslim propaganda from far-right group Britain First.

Many took to social media on Monday to blast Trump over his controversial NHS comments.

Liberal Democrats leader Vince Cable said: "Your interest in our treasured NHS is noted - I’m sure, as ever, you are on top of the detail. On the off chance you’re not, pls read this @LibDems report, published today, to find out how to fund a universal healthcare system.”

One Twitter person used all caps to express his frustration at the US president’s “lies” about the NHS, which was founded under a Labour government in 1948.

Others questioned where Trump got his information.

Another felt compelled to have to explain to the president the real reason why people protested on Saturday.

Trump's comments on the NHS are meant as an attack on the opposition Democrats, who want the government to play a bigger role in providing healthcare to Americans.

Currently only elderly and poor people can get free care in the US, with everyone else buying health insurance. Some Democrats – including potential challengers to Trump in the 2020 election – are calling for the US to move to a system more similar to the NHS.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt distanced himself from the President's remarks and instead threw his weight behind universal health coverage saying: 

One of the main groups responsible for organizing the protest, the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, told RT they do not agree with the President’s “incorrect and divisive rhetoric,” and cared to outline the real causes of the NHS’ ‘third world crisis’ in an open letter.

“Dear Donald Trump,

“The NHS has existed since 1948 in the UK after the devastation of the second world war.

“The British population demanded the right to have access to healthcare which they deserve as human beings which is absolutely affordable when the right political decisions are made.

“It has been a shining example to the world of what can be achieved when we put the needs of the collective good over the interests of a few wealthy individuals.

“Unfortunately, our current government have been persuaded to increasingly adopt policies which represent those of your Government, they have decided to move us more to an American-style system which is widely acknowledged to be one of the most expensive, inefficient and unjust healthcare systems in the world.

“This is why our NHS is currently struggling and why leading Professors including Professor Stephen Hawking are bravely battling politicians who wish to turn it into a system like yours.

“This is what our demonstration was about on Saturday 3rd Feb and tens of thousands of British people want to show their love for the principles of universal and comprehensive care free at the point of use, paid for through general taxation.

“We don’t agree with your divisive and incorrect rhetoric. No thanks.

“Your sincerely,

“The People’s Assembly and Health Campaigns Together.”

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