Stephen Hawking Says The NHS “Must Be Protected From Commercial Interests”

The world-famous physicist describes the NHS as Britain’s “finest public service” in a short film for Channel 4.

According to The Independent Hawking has made a “heartfelt” tribute to the NHS in a short film to be broadcast on Wednesday.

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The paper quotes him on the statements he made in 2009, when Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms were receiving criticism in the U.S.

Only last summer, I caught pneumonia, and would have died, but for the NHS hospital care. We must retain this critical public service, and prevent the establishment of a two-tier system, with the best medicine for the wealthy, and an inferior service for the rest.

Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21.

Jemal Countess / Getty

He receives 24-hour care from three nurses.

They have to physically force his food down his throat (because his swallowing is impaired), bathe him and take a variety of measures to make sure he doesn’t succumb to pressure sores or pneumonia. While he is still able to communicate, he’s only able to do so at six words per minute.

There will be a series of short films on Professor Hawking’s life shown on Channel 4 this week.

Jemal Countess / Getty

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Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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