Nicholas Cobb, the chairman of the Westminster Forum, a non-profit think tank, said on Thursday that the issues experienced with the National Health Service (NHS), which has long been struggling with funding cuts and increased pressure on hospitals, were exaggerated.
"The NHS is a lifeline for people. There will always be horror stories, there will always be issues, but it provides very good health access. Yes, it has its problems, but at one point it employed more people than the Red Army. There will always be individual incidents, but broadly it is a very good system that works in the interest of the public. It is oversubscribed, it does have issues, but it does a very good job for our people," Cobb said.
As for claims that Russia might be behind the leak of documents allegedly proving that the NHS was put up for sale in trade talks with the United States, Cobb said that Russia had become an easy target to be blamed for every mishap.
"I can say that it is easy for people to basically blame the third party for all of their ills and all of their problems and not really look at their own house. The reality, however, is probably just a fact that Russia was an easy target and it is easy to blame your ills on a third party and it has become lazy politics," the think tank chairman added.
In early December, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn unveiled a 451-page dossier, which was believed to have been posted on social media website Reddit in October by a Russian campaign. The leaked papers allegedly included plans to sell NHS under a trade deal with the US.
The NHS is said to be experiencing a significant staffing crisis. The gap between staff needed and the number available in the UK health service could reach almost 250,000 by 2030. Brexit is also due to have a significant impact on staffing numbers, as nurses from European Union countries are quitting their duties in the NHS.
The Westminster Forum is a non-profit think tank promoting cultural, commercial and political relations between Russia and the United Kingdom.