Campaigners have criticised the government’s decision to block protections for the NHS from the upcoming Trade Bill. Tara Pilkington reports.
Final attempts from the Green Party and Labour Party to rule the NHS out of a future trade deal with the US blocked when MPs voted down a key amendment by 340 votes to 251.
The proposal sought to ban any future deal which would seek to undermine the status of the NHS as a public-funded service, free at the point of delivery, and would have protected it “from any form of control from outside the UK.”
The Conservatives argued against this and insisted that the NHS did not need protection because it is not up for sale.
Commenting on the new, We Own It campaigner Ellen Lees said: “It’s frankly sickening that at a time when we’re more reliant on our NHS than ever before, the government has steamrollered through Parliament a Trade Bill that offers absolutely no protection for our treasured NHS.”
Shadow international trade minister Bill Esterson noted during the debate said that this lack of scrutiny threatened to leave the NHS ”wide open to pharmaceutical giants.”