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RCN calls for NHS to be protected from EU-US trade deal

  • 12 Comments

Uncertainty over the impact of a proposed international trade deal is a “growing source of anxiety” among health workers, the Royal College of Nursing has warned.

The college said the NHS needed to be protected from the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is being negotiated between the European Union and the United States.

“Any new trade agreement between the EU and the US must not include health services”

Peter Carter

Opponents of the deal have warned it would lead to more NHS services being privatised, a charge strongly denied by the government.

The RCN is writing to the government and to the UK’s MEPs to express its concern about the TTIP’s potential impact on the health service.

Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “The government has failed to make clear how the health service will be protected from the proposed trade deal between the EU and US.

“Health workers, patients and the public want a cast-iron guarantee that TTIP will not leave the NHS vulnerable to privatisation through the back door. Any new trade agreement between the EU and the US must not include health services,” he said.

Peter Carter

“It’s also a crucial issue of national sovereignty and democracy that the UK government retains the right to change existing legislation in relation to health services without fear of legal challenge from business interests,” said Mr Carter.

He added: “Politicians in the UK and in the EU must do more to demonstrate that they’ve taken these concerns on board and give assurances that TTIP is not going to open the NHS up to greater privatisation and the increased risk of legal challenge.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “The TTIP cannot force European countries to privatise public services and this government would not allow TTIP negotiations to harm the NHS.

Other unions, including Unite, have also been campaigning on the issue and nurse Kathryn Anderson stood as a candidate in April’s European elections for the National Health Action Party over concerns about the trade deal.

However, trade minister Lord Livingston, who is leading negotiations on the deal, has so far suggested the NHS and other public services would not be exempt from TTIP.

 

  • 12 Comments

Readers' comments (12)

  • So the good Lord is happy that US corporations will continue to have the ability to sue the NHS for millions of $/£ if it tries to reverse privatisation when we finally get rid of the ConDem privateers.

    Nurses, get the hint and please use your votes wisely in May 2015.

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  • So let's get this straight - we want guarantees that "... TTIP will not leave the NHS vulnerable to privatisation through the back door..." from a Government who want to privatise through any door possible!

    How is that going to work?
    Or is Peter Carter again just saying things to look good?

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  • Pussy

    The RCN can call for all it wants because nobody listens to Carter and all his weak and nebulous crap.

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  • The RCN can call for all it wants because nobody listens to Carter and all his weak and nebulous crap.

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  • Pussy

    Whoops! Don't know what happened there!

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  • The RCN... Ha ha ha.

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  • http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/14/ttip-deal-british-sovereignty-cameron-ukip-treaty

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  • You may take some comfort in the fact that no one in the U.S. health care industry has expressed any interest in taking over any part of the NHS. That being the case, U.S. negotiators are not likely to push for access.

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  • Yes, this government is determined to privatise as quickly as possible by the back door. Why pay GPs piece-work for basic services unless you want to try out the principle and get people used to the idea? Much of the NHS is already privatised (how many health CICs are there in your area?); all of these would be open to competition legislation, I presume). Of course, as yet this government has 'plausible deniability' on its side, but don't underestimate how clever and how determined they are to get what they want - privatised health care. The NHS is not safe with the Tories, and Labour is little better.

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  • Anyone interested in what the RCN pays a....any wonder they don't want change......

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10176757/Union-leaders-enjoy-bumper-pay-hikes-and-golden-goodbyes.html

    Dr Peter Carter, the head of the Royal College of Nursing has seen his pay package rise from £66,869 to £109,000.

    Dr Carter's gross salary rose from £59,540 to £97,000, while his employer’s national insurance contribution rose from £7,329 to £12,000. Nurses pay rose by just 1 per cent in April after two years of pay freezes.

    The Royal College of Nursing said his pay has not risen because he was previously paid separately for professional and charitable duties. That pay is now declared in the trade union accounts.

    A spokeswoman said: "“Dr Peter Carter has not received a salary increase for over 3 years, nor does he receive any non-salary allowances from the RCN. In 2011 we agreed a different allocation of Dr Carter’s salary with the Trade Union Certification Officer following a change in the RCN’s legal structure.”

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