US President Donald Trump has sparked controversy by claiming Britain’s publicly-funded healthcare system was “going broke and not working”.
He was using the National Health Service (NHS) to make a domestic political point against the provision of universal healthcare.
But his comments drew strong criticism on Twitter, including from the UK’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jeremy Hunt.
Trump was tweeting after 60,000 people marched in London at the weekend calling for more NHS funding.
“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,” he said. “Dems want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care. No thanks!”
Trump made a campaign pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act — the Obama-era legislation which expanded access to health insurance — but it failed to get through Congress last year.
The stateside system, where people have to pay for healthcare often via insurance providers, is very different to the UK’s, which is funded by general taxation.
According to the World Bank, Britain spends 9.1 percent of its GDP on health care, compared to 17.1 percent in the United States.
Average British life expectancy is 81.6 years, nearly three years longer than in the United States.
NHS funding is a controversial topic in the UK as hospitals struggle to cope with pressure on their services, especially over winter.
Last month British Prime Minister Theresa May apologised after the NHS postponed tens of thousands of non-emergency operations to free up staff and beds to deal with emergency patients.
Trump’s tweet come after he suggested he was ready to apologise after retweeting far-right group Britain First.