NEWS
05/02/2018 12:43 GMT | Updated 05/02/2018 17:04 GMT

Donald Trump Attacks The NHS After Nigel Farage Appears On Fox News

Farage blamed the NHS crisis on immigrants.

Donald Trump has attacked the UK’s “broke” health service in a tweet that came just minutes after Nigel Farage appeared on Fox News and blamed immigrants for the pressures on the NHS.

Jeremy Hunt immediately hit back with a defence of the British healthcare system, saying it was preferable to that in the US.

The US President referenced a protest outside Downing Street at the weekend in which thousands of people called for more money to be given to the health service.

Crowds chanted slogans including “saving lives costs money, saving money costs lives” and “keep your hands off our NHS”.

Fox News
Farage on Trump's favourite news channel this morning

Appearing on Fox News under an hour before Trump’s tweet was sent, Farage said: “Well the problem we’ve got is a population crisis caused by government policy on immigration. 

“The problem is we haven’t got enough hospitals, we haven’t got enough doctors, we haven’t got enough facilities. 

“This system we have was set up in 1948. Surprisingly for a state-run thing for most of the first 50 years the public had great faith in it. Right now it’s pretty much at breaking point.” 

The organisers of Saturday’s march have disputed Trump and Farage’s interpretation of the demonstration.

Addressing Trump directly, the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and Health Campaigns Together, said: “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.” 

While concentrating solely on immigration, Farage failed to mention the financial pressures facing the NHS after years of cuts under austerity.

SOPA Images via Getty Images
Protestors march on Downing Street on Saturday

Earlier this year, thousands of operations were cut due to severe pressures on services.

Theresa May insisted the health service had been “better prepared” than ever before for winter.

But doctors and nurses told HuffPost UK of unprecedented pressures on A&E, including patients waiting 10 hours to be seen by a doctor and stressed staff using their own hospital’s mental health services.

The Department of Health has said NHS funding is “at a record high” but healthcare thinktank, the Kings Fund, has concluded: “Spending on social care and public health has been cut. The government has given the NHS less money than it asked for.”

And just today a Labour MP warned the biggest threat to the NHS may actually be Brexit, of which Farage is the leading proponent.

Stephen Doughty MP, a leading supporter of Open Britain, said: “Donald Trump’s tweet is only the start of his assault on our NHS and its values. Brexit will allow him to wreak havoc in our health system.

“Brexit has left the Government going cap-in-hand for a trade deal with the United States at any cost and we can be sure a President whose slogan is ‘America First’ will demand the highest of prices, starting with access to our NHS for US health care companies and drug giants.

“And there’s plenty of support for NHS privatisation among the Brextremists too.”

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

Trump’s propensity to tweet lines from Fox News during his morning routine has been well documented and has led to a number of occasions where he has made huge statements that appear to have come from nowhere but all coincide with related coverage on the channel.

An analysis in Politico by Matthew Gertz, states:

“After comparing the President’s tweets with Fox’s coverage every day since October, I can tell you that the Fox-Trump feedback loop is happening far more often than you think. There is no strategy to Trump’s Twitter feed; he is not trying to distract the media. Heis being distracted. He darts with quark-like speed from topic to topic in his tweets because that’s how cable news works.

“Here’s what’s also shocking: A man with unparalleled access to the world’s most powerful information-gathering machine, with an intelligence budget estimated at $73 billion last year, prefers to rely on conservative cable news hosts to understand current events.”