Donald Trump says NHS is 'going broke and not working' in attack on universal healthcare

'I may disagree with protestors but no one of them wants to live in a system where 28 million people have no cover' said Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to President Trump

Alex Matthews-King
Health Correspondent
Monday 05 February 2018 13:36 GMT
Thousands protest in London over NHS crisis

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Donald Trump has criticised the NHS in comments attacking Democrat plans for universal healthcare, saying the UK’s system is “going broke and not working”.

The President claimed that a demonstration on Saturday, where thousands marched on Downing Street calling on the Government to give the NHS the funding it needs, was an argument against the US adopting a similar system.

He said on Twitter that the push by Democrats would “greatly raise taxes” for worse outcomes and more impersonal care.

But medical experts and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic were quick to point out that the US pays more per person than comparable health systems and leaves millions unable to access care.

Last year a review of healthcare in key OECD countries, by the independent Commonwealth Fund think-tank, ranked the NHS top driven chiefly by the ease and equality of access to treatment.

While the NHS came second last on the health outcomes category, it still had better outcomes than the American system.

The march this weekend was in protest of the Government funding restraint which has seen the number and severity of patients it sees each year rapidly outstrip its budget.

Health economists have said the health service needs £4bn for 2018/19 but it was given less than half that amount in the autumn Budget, the NHS also received a £337m cash injection for this winter but this came just days before winter began.

Replying to the President's tweet, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt rejected claims made by protestors about NHS underfunding, but claimed he shared their pride in a health system "where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance".

Labour Shadow Health Minister Justin Madders said that a universal, publicly funded NHS ”remains the most cost effective and efficient mode of health care provision – a fact the President would probably consider ‘fake news’”.

But he added that the protests, and Mr Trump’s intervention, are a sign of the strain that the health service has been put under by eight years of funding restraint and cuts to social care and public health budgets.

“Even Donald Trump knows, you can’t trust the Tories with our NHS,” Mr Madders added.

“The President is right to focus on Saturday’s march in which thousands of people joined Labour in protesting eight years of austerity, which have drastically worsened patient outcomes and demoralised the workforce.

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