People’s NHS campaign releases 83-word proposal to exclude NHS from TTIP

03/03/2015
CommonWeal

Spence: “It will take David Cameron just 83 words to save our greatest institution”

THE People’s NHS Campaign has proposed a form of words the UK Government could implement into TTIP that would ensure the NHS is excluded from any trade deal with America.

The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will be the biggest bilateral trade deal in world history if it is passed by the EU and US governments.

Critics say that it is a corporate power grab, which will only take power away from nation states and national courts, and put the right to privatise and the right to de-regulate in the hands of the world’s biggest companies.

Unite the union Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty responded to the leak of the EU’s “initial offer” to the US on TTIP by stating that “real risks” still existed for the NHS from the TTIP deal.

On health services, the leaked document states (click here to read more): “The EU reserves the right to adopt or maintain any measure with regard to the provision of all health services which receive public funding or State support in any form.”

Donald Spence, NHS worker and spokesperson for the People’s NHS campaign, said that this does not go far enough, adding: “It will take David Cameron just 83 words to save our greatest institution, the NHS from the threat of irreversible privatisation.”

The Scottish Government, along with Scottish Labour and the Scottish Greens, has signed a pledge from the ‘People’s NHS campaign’ to support a veto of the Scottish NHS in the TTIP deal.

Last week, People’s NHS held a protest outside the Scottish Parliament as the UK Trade Minister gave evidence to the European and External Affairs Committee, attempting to reassure Scottish polticians that TTIP will not undermine the NHS and other public services.

Spence said that the prime minister “must now demand that the European Commission puts this robust exclusion for the NHS into the text of the TTIP otherwise the prime minister must veto the trade deal”.

The People’s NHS campaign’s 83-word proposal is as follows:

“The UK reserves the right to adopt or maintain any measure with regard to the organization, the funding and the provision of the National Health Service in the UK as well as with regard to the public and/or the non-for-profit character of the National Health Service in the UK, where services may be provided by different companies and/or public or private entities involving competitive elements which are thus not services carried out exclusively in the exercise of governmental authority.”