Angus MP Mike Weir has called upon the UK government to protect the Scottish NHS by specifically exempting the NHS from the provisions of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Treaty (TTIP) currently being negotiated between the EU and the United States.
Concerns have been raised that the treaty could open up the NHS to privatisation especially since the EU have indicated that if the health service is opened up in any part of a state then it would affect all parts of that state, which means as there is creeping privatisation in the English NHS this could force the Scottish NHS open to privatisation.
Intervening in a debate on the National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill in the House of Commons Mr Weir pointed out that both the Government and the Labour Party were blaming each other for opening up the NHS in England to competition but there was no dispute it had been opened up, saying
“There is an interesting argument taking place between the two Front Benchers about who is responsible for bringing competition into the health service, but the fact is that, no matter who is responsible, the health service could now come under the transatlantic trade and investment partnership. Why will the Government not specifically exclude health services from TTIP before it is negotiated? “
Commenting on the matter Mr Weir said that both the current Conservative/ Lib Dem coalition and previous Labour Government were equally responsible for the situation we now face,
“In Scotland the NHS is devolved and the Scottish Government have been adamant that it will remain in public hands and have refused to go down the road of privatisation. That is being put at risk by what is happening in England, since the EU has made clear that if any part of member state opens up a service to competition the same applies to all parts of that state and the UK is the member state of the EU.”
“Despite this the UK government could still exempt the NHS from TTIP. The French Government have exempted the French film industry. If it can do so the UK can exempt the NHS and the UK government must do this as a matter of urgency.”