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Exclude the NHS from trade deals: Society seconds TUC motion

9 September, 2019
Richard Evans
Richard Evans

The TUC Congress was reminded by the Society's CEO that "despite international comparisons that show clearly that the NHS is by far the most efficient healthcare system, politicians... seem convinced that the system is broken and can only fixed by commercial interests."

Richard Evans said, "We need to protect the NHS. We need to build a wall!"

Seconding the British Dietetic Association (BDA) motion, The NHS and Future Trade Deals, Richard continued, "In this Congress, we can proudly say that the dangers of erosion of the principles of the NHS have been repeatedly highlighted and opposed. But in wider society our views are viewed as paranoia."

"Everyone loves the NHS. But no one seemed to value it enough until Mr Trump opened his mouth! Suddenly everyone knows that the NHS is a target for big business."

The motion calls on the TUC General Council to demand that the NHS is specifically excluded from future trade deals. The BDA motion says that "Congress is alarmed that during his visit to the UK in June, President Trump asserted that the NHS would be 'on the table' in any future trade deals with the US 'or a lot more than that'.

Richard said, "The NHS is in danger from unrestricted price hikes, competition for service provision and, ultimately, a deconstruction of the fundamental values that ensure free access for all.

"This Congress will never be silent whilst the NHS is under threat. But what Donald Trump has achieved is to get everyone talking about protecting healthcare."

Motion 15 The NHS and future trade deals
Congress is deeply concerned that our NHS is under threat from commercial interests on both sides of the Atlantic.

Furthermore, Congress is alarmed that during his visit to the UK in June, President Trump asserted that the NHS would be “on the table” in any future trade deals with the US “or a lot more than that”. Even though he appears to have backtracked on his statement, there remains concern over what exactly any future trade negotiations with the US would mean for the NHS.

Congress notes that it has been British governments that opened up the NHS to EU competition laws, leaving our health service more exposed to private intervention than any other EU country.

Our NHS is never safe during a Tory government whoever is prime minister. To keep our NHS public, we need a government committed to doing just that.

Therefore, Congress reasserts its policy that “we reject a vision of free trade” that “offers up public services like the NHS to rapacious multinational companies”.

Congress calls on the General Council to demand that the NHS is specifically excluded from any future trade deals.
Moved by British Dietetic Association
Seconded by Society of Radiographers

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