13th March 2013
For Immediate release:
Government signing up to global trade deal that allows NHS sell-off to transnational private companies with no turning back
The National Health Action Party is demanding that the NHS is exempted from a global trade deal which allows transnational corporations to buy into the most lucrative parts of the NHS. The legal framework will mean the NHS will be stuck in a “locked in syndrome” of increasing privatisation, making renationalisation of the NHS impossible.
The US/EU Free Trade Agreement, which David Cameron identified as a priority in his chairing of the G8 this year, was given the go-ahead by US President Obama and EU President Barroso in January. One of the key aims of this Free Trade Agreement is to give international corporations legal rights to access governments’ public services budgets. The NHS is part of UK ‘public procurement’ and is therefore a target of “international investors” and the transnational healthcare industry.
Healthcare has been specifically mentioned as a form of trade to be included in the “harmonising regulation” of the Agreement, which aims to prevent “future trade barriers” in keeping with the demands of transnational corporations. .
The Health and Social Care Act and its secondary legislation were framed to fit with the harmonising process of the the US/EU Free Trade Agreement. This framework means that publicly funded English health services will be obliged to tender out contracts. Large transnational corporations will have a competitive advantage in the bidding process, and be in a position to weather the very low current tariffs until public sector, charity and social enterprise providers without their deep pockets are driven out of business.
The co-leader of the newly-formed National Health Action Party, Clive Peedell, said:
“The NHS is being primed for transnational investors to buy up the most lucrative parts of the healthcare system, under a legal framework which also permits them to sue the UK government in the case of any ‘backsliding’. As more and more private corporations win contracts, the situation will be fixed in an effectively irreversible international trade deal. The NHS will be stuck in a “locked in syndrome” of increasing privatisation, making renationalisation of the NHS impossible.
“This makes Labour’s pledge to repeal the Act (if they are elected in 2015) and defend the NHS from privatisation, a meaningless and hollow one. If the Labour party is serious about being the party of the NHS, it must act now and join the NHA party in calling for the NHS to be exempted from the US/EU Free Trade Agreement.”
Dr Peedell, whose party is planning to field up to 50 candidates at the General Election, went on:
“The Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition had promised the public that there would be “no privatisation of the NHS”, yet unless we claim the public service exemption for the NHS, signing this Free Trade Agreement will require the government to break that promise. If they are to be true to their word, they must also support our call for the English NHS to be exempted from this US/EU Free Trade Agreement.
We call on the supporters and leaders of all other parties to join us in defending this precious public service. There are no excuses. Canada has exempted its health service from trade agreements that its government has signed, and has safeguarded its public health system. We need to do the same.”
The NHA Party is asking concerned citizens to send a prepared letter with a personal covering note to their MPs to insist that the NHS is exempted from the US/EU Free Trade Agreement as a condition of the UK’s agreeing to participate.
Notes for Editors
For general press enquiries, please contact Giselle Green 07767 612311
To arrange an interview with Dr Clive Peedell, please call: 07990 520475
The National Health Action Party was founded last year by doctors and healthcare professionals seriously concerned at how the policies of the Coalition Government were bringing about the effective dismantling of the NHS. The Party plans to field up to 50 candidates at the next general election.
The co-leaders are Dr Clive Peedell, a consultant clinical oncologist, and Dr Richard Taylor, retired consultant physician and former MP for Wyre Forest
More details on website: www.nationalhealthaction.org.uk