President Donald Trump’s visit raised worries over a future trade deal with the US. Concerns over chlorinated chicken and the NHS resurfaced.

Chlorinated chicken is an animal welfare debate. The government has been absolutely clear: we will not compromise our standards to open up to the US or anyone else.

But the NHS debate is more complex. The argument is confused about “privatisation” and being “sold off” to US private companies.

The US Ambassador said very clearly that the NHS will be on the table in trade negotiations. So what is the truth?

At its simplest level, the NHS is a service provider. It doesn’t make anything at all, so everything it uses – literally everything – must be bought in. Lavatory paper, beds, surgical equipment, MRI scanners, drugs – everything.

The US ambassador is right that the NHS will be discussed because US manufacturers of stuff the NHS needs will want to continue to sell our NHS their products. And that is good for the NHS.

If it has more choice from more producers, then there is cost competition and better choice for services. The patient wins.

Where it becomes more complex is that of delivering services.

The NHS can, and does, commission private companies to deliver some services.

Some readers will recognise possibly having had an operation undertaken in a private hospital, paid for by the NHS. Others will know that before I was elected in 2010, Kidderminster Hospital was delivering knee and hip operations through a company called InterHealth.

In every sense this felt like the NHS – NHS hospital, staff, theatres, treatment – but the management of the process and financial responsibility was taken on by the private provider.

And of course, all our GP surgeries, since the NHS was created, are private partnerships commissioned by the NHS to provide primary care.

So the idea of a private company, including foreign private companies, delivering services has been around for years and decades.

What is important, though, is that NHS trusts choose to buy-in services.

However, where the concerns lie is the possibility that an NHS trust may be forced to open up their services to commissioning, thereby not having a choice in the matter.

So to be absolutely clear on this specific point, there is no way that any government would allow the NHS to be forced to commission outside providers to deliver services. Never.

It is our choice and we will not allow the NHS to be forced to buy services they don’t want.