News World Donald Trump NHS criticism met with angry response in Britain
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Donald Trump NHS criticism met with angry response in Britain

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Donald Trump wants more cash for the military. Photo: Getty
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Donald Trump’s uneasy relationship with the United Kingdom has taken another dip after the US President claimed Britain’s publicly funded healthcare system was “going broke and not working”.

Mr Trump used Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) to make a domestic political point and argue against the provision of universal health care in the US.

By doing so he was perceived to have insulted a system held dear by his country’s closest ally.

His criticism drew a fierce reaction from angry Britons on Tuesday morning (AEDT), including health minister Jeremy Hunt. 

“The Democrats are pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working. Dems want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care. No thanks!” Trump tweeted on Monday.

Britain’s health system delivers free care for all and is typically one of the most important issues for voters during elections.

The NHS widely regarded as a weakness for Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative, or Tory, Party, whose opponents accuse the government of inadequately investing in it.

Outraged Britons flocked to Twitter with messages defending the NHS, with many pointing out that the protest march Mr Trump referred to was organised by groups that want to increase the health service’s funding, not dismantle it.

The rally drew 60,000 people to central London on Saturday according to one of its organisers, Health Campaigns Together.

Even Health Secretary Hunt, one of the main targets of the protesters’ anger, snapped back sharply at Mr Trump.

“I may disagree with claims made on that march but not ONE of them wants to live in a system where 28 (million) people have no cover. NHS may have challenges but I’m proud to be from the country that invented universal coverage – where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance,” Mr Hunt said.

Later, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman echoed Mr Hunt’s words, saying she was proud of the system and pointing to a Commonwealth Fund international survey which found the NHS was rated the best performing out of 11 developed countries.

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted back to Trump: “Wrong. People were marching because we love our NHS and hate what the Tories are doing to it. Healthcare is a human right.”

According to the World Bank, Britain spends 9.1 per cent of its GDP on health care, compared to 17.1 per cent in the United States. Average British life expectancy is 81.6 years, nearly three years longer than in the US.

Mr Trump has had a fractious relationship with its trans-Atlantic ally since taking office, engaging in public spats with politicians including Ms May and London’s Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan.

British politicians lined up in December to condemn Mr Trump for sharing videos originally posted by a leader of a British far-right fringe group.

An unrepentant Mr Trump responded to by attacking Ms May on Twitter.

“Theresa @theresamay, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine,” he tweeted.

His response prompted Mr Khan to call for the withdrawal of an invitation to the President to make a state visit to Britain.

– With AAP

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