- Richard Bacon became embroiled in an online spat with food critic Giles Coren
- Ex-Blue Peter presenter Bacon praised the NHS for saving his life on Instagram
- His friend Coren, 49, claimed it was science that saved his life and not the NHS
- He later accused Bacon of pandering to his 'snowflake' fan base with his post
Former Blue Peter presenter Richard Bacon and friend and food critic Giles Coren became embroiled in a heated Instagram row over the NHS.
The argument erupted after Bacon, 42, shared a post thanking the NHS for 'saving his life' after he was admitted to hospital with a lung infection last month.
In response Coren, who was reportedly among the friends who spoke to Bacon while he was in hospital, commented saying it was 'medical science' that had saved his life, not the NHS.
The exchange escalated to the point where Coren accused Bacon of trying to 'make sense of a near-death experience by politicising it in terms that a snowflake social media fanbase will rise to and applaud'.
The cutting remark prompted a furious response from Bacon, who claimed it was the food critic who was making the issue political.
A handful of followers also chimed into the argument, accusing outspoken Coren of being 'pointlessly provocative'.
Bacon, a father of two, spent 11 days in an induced coma while battling the illness, which he described as 'bird flu in both lungs', at Lewisham Hospital, south-east London.
He underwent a tracheotomy to help him breathe as medics battled to save his life after he was struck down with a deadly infection.
Former Big Breakfast presenter Bacon, who is now recovering at home, shared a video to Instagram on Sunday of an Edinburgh Festival performer who received a standing ovation for a piece he had written on the 70th anniversary of the NHS.
The caption read: 'You don't have to have had your life saved by them in the last month to think this is standing ovation sensational.'
But it was quickly shot down by Coren, who posted: 'Your life was saved by medical science, I don't see what the NHS has to do with it.'
Bacon responded sarcastically: '@gilescoren gosh you're right. I should have gone to that private A&E five minutes from the house I was staying in as my breathing dropped off a cliff.
'And then been transferred to the private intensive care unit. Thanks. Wish I'd thought of going to those places that don't exist as I lay dying.'
Coren hit back by arguing the NHS is 'just the organising structure' and that it was 'science that saved him'.
He continued: 'Living in 2018 is the clever thing. Same thing happened to my dad in France and they saved his life there. Almost any developed country will do that. The hospital would have been there and saved your life regardless of how it's funding was organised.'
Bacon picked apart his friend's argument, saying he was 'painting a hypothetical' before explaining that there was an individual medic named Vic 'who's committed himself to public healthcare, to the NHS,' who made a 'crucial decision' that saved his life.
Coren used the point to bolster his own viewpoint, saying doctors and nurses save lives 'regardless of the bureaucracy that processes the means to do so'.
The TV food critic then took a jibe at Bacon's intentions: 'I understand the impulse to make sense of a near death experience by politicising it in terms that a snowflake social media fan base will rise and applaud to but the fact remains that medical science and devoted personnel would have saved your life regardless (and hurrah for that!)
'All the NHS has done is saved you a hundred grand. And hurrah for that too.'
However Bacon refused to agree and told Coren he was 'just wrong on this', adding: 'You haven't spoken to me in detail. And btw, you're the one f******g politicising it.
'I just stated factually that I was treated / saved by the NHS. You countered with some nonessential fatuous statement that you couldn't see what the NHS had to do with my care.
'Yes I believe in universal health care. Yes I also think some NHS outcomes are poor. But I didn't want to have that discussion...
'My point is very specific and yours very general. They are not going to align. I don't know why you're being pointlessly provocative when you don't know the specifics.'
Bacon later asked his friend not to patronise him on the topic, prompting Coren to reply 'Okay. I won't,' before adding provocatively: 'But can I still patronise you in other ways?'