7 November 2019
Thanks to the over 30,000 people who have written to their MP or parliamentary candidate, more than 140 General Election candidates or former MPs have now pledged to protect our NHS from trade deals by ending privatisation. Parliamentary candidates from Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Greens, as well as some independents have signed the pledge!
This is a huge victory! We've put the pressure on and helped make the NHS a major issue in the election, with the front page of the Mirror last week showing that the public don't trust Boris Johnson on the NHS.
But sadly, the Conservatives don't seem like they're interested in winning the public's trust. A leaked memo from Conservative HQ has instructed their parliamentary candidates to not sign the pledge to protect the NHS from trade deals. No Conservative or Lib Dem candiates have yet signed our pledge.
To make things worse, the Conservatives are still parroting the claim that the 'NHS is not for sale'. So to set the record straight:
- Our NHS is already for sale - 18% of NHS funding now goes to private providers, including VirginCare, Priory Group (an American healthcare company) and others. The 2012 Health and Social Care Act required NHS Trusts to contract out the provision of services through competitive tendering, which has inevitably led to private companies winning contracts.
- A trade deal could lock in current and future privatisation, making it impossible to reverse, as well as opening doors to ever-spiralling drug costs. Future governments trying to reduce or remove privatisation could be faced with expensive legal challenges from US healthcare companies and the risk of massive fines.
As long as private companies are allowed to provide NHS services through competitive contracting, the NHS is vulnerable to Trump’s trade deal - it's on the table. But if our NHS was an entirely public service, it wouldn’t even be on the menu.
But the only reason the Conservatives are having to have this conversation is because of the pressure put on them by everyone who has taken part in this campaign.
Thank you to every single person who has emailed their MP, helped get over 140 parliamentary candidates signed up to the pledge, and put the NHS on the agenda in this election.
You can also join our action to get the NHS off the table.
Image of Boris Johnson credit: Annika Haas, Creative Commons