Two weeks ago, Donald Trump was in the UK. Although he later retracted his statement, he suggested to public horror the NHS would be on the table in any trade deal with the US.

While the public was clearly shocked, the fact is the US healthcare companies have been here for decades and the end game for the NHS as we know it is possibly in sight.

As readers will know I have been a long-term campaigner for the NHS and have written to this paper many times.

I have over the years often been accused of scaremongering.

However, what most people are unaware of is that behind the blue logo and invisible to the general public, US healthcare companies have been quietly embedded into the NHS.

Behind the scenes, a US-style integrated care model has been introduced piecemeal and is now being rolled out at an alarming speed.

As US global corporations like United Health have moved in to "help" redesign the NHS it has become increasingly commercialised to serve business interests.

For those that think integrated care has a nice sounding ring to it, it is, in fact, a model built on business principles with competition and profit as its motive. Almost two thirds of US citizens who go bankrupt do so because they can’t afford their healthcare bills and many of those actually have insurance which after all is about risk not about helping sick people.

Poor Americans rely on travelling charitable surgeries and dentistry for care.

It is a tragedy that, as public money is being handed to private corporations to make profit, we are being told that a publicly run and funded service serving the interests of people is no longer affordable (a political choice not related to the public accounts) and that there is no alternative which there is.

For a taster of what is coming Warrington and Halton Hospitals are offering patients the option of self-funding some procedures that are no longer funded by the NHS.

Surely that and the increasing number of adverts for private insurance should be our wake-up call.

Prue Plumridge

London Road, Maldon