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Epetition against proposed "free" trade agreement to privatise NHS by

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Read below for context on proposed new "Free" trade agreement that will allow for privatisation of the NHS by the back door. The e-petition is near the bottom, but I've also placed it here, for youir convenience.










Date: Mon, 6 May 2013 21:15:21 +0000

From: carrie@burngreave.net


Subject: Fwd: [ssonhs-organize] Continuing the fight against Section 75 - Keep the NHS out of the impending Free Trade Agreement - sign the e-petition





--Forwarded Message Attachment--

From: mike.simpkin@mixim.org.uk

To: ssonhs-organize@googlegroups.com

Subject: [ssonhs-organize] Continuing the fight against Section 75 - Keep the NHS out of the impending Free Trade Agreement - sign the e-petition

Date: Sun, 5 May 2013 16:06:59 +0100


Ray from Sheffield Trades Council has passed on the important appeal below from the National Pensioners Convention to sign a petition to keep the NHS out of the scope of a likely new free trade agreement between the EU and the USA. http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/47102 .


As Ray says, it's good that the NPC has got involved and if you don't want to read my text below, just scroll down to the NPC letter.


What's at stake?


One of the biggest and most long standing issues in the global economic system is the debate between free trade and protectionism. Proponents of free trade argue that the consequent reduction in tariff barriers increases global economic activity, benefits traders and increases wealth while critics belive that the biggest gainers are the global multinational traders; that wealth gets sucked out of countries, and that locally agreed standards such as labour or environmental regulations get undercut. Such standards include provisions which protect the NHS. However within a free trade agreement some exemptions can be made as part of the negotiations.


The EU currently has 45 free trade agreements with other parts of the world and President Obama, under pressure from the US Chamber of Commerce, has made it a priority to negotiate a similar agreement for the USA. The EU, with its currently stultified eurozone, is keen to respond and negotations are expected to begin in June leading to an agreement being in place for 2016. The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would create the world’s biggest free trade zone.


What has this to do with the NHS? Well, one might have said not a lot, until the 2012 Health and Social Care Act which we have already seen lays current publicly owned NHS providers far more open to EU competition regulations and will make them doubly vulnerable to US companies under a free trade agreement. Indeed the case has been made that the infamous Section 75 could have been written to facilitate such an agreement.



Although the forces behind the agreement are powerful ones, there is already opposition on both sides. For instance it's been reported that in the USA, "a significant obstacle in the talks, which are expected to take several months to conclude, is the resistance from consumer advocacy groups, environmental organization, and public health experts, who fear that an agreement would sacrifice important regulatory standards and give multinational corporations political power similar to that of a sovereign nation if governments are no longer able to regulate within their own borders... The Public Citizen's Access to Medicines campaign presented the White House with a letter from 47 nonprofits group objecting to the intellectual property standards of the proposed agreement with Europe." Conversely "Europe's restrictions on genetically modified crops and hormones in meat are just a few examples of how European regulators apply the precautionary principle to regulation rather using a strict cost-benefit analysis as is often done in the U.S". http://bit.ly/13Sr30Z


The French have already taken action at national level to try to protect some of their key issues including agriculture and audio-visual culture against US imports which would be favoured under such an agreement. A fortnight ago the International Trade Committee (INTA) of the European Parliament passed a resolution welcoming the negotiations but adopting an amendment asking for the “exclusion of the cultural and audiovisual services, including those provided online” in the negotiation mandate.


If culture can potentially be excluded, then why not health?


This week we have seen a hospital in Surrey owned by one of the largest private companies in the UK, BMI Healthcare (owner of Thornbury Hospital in Sheffield) brought to book for appalling standards where surgeons 'broke the rules and ignored critics'. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/may/02/mount-alvernia-private-hospital


We should be pressing for publicly owned health services to be excluded and signing this petition is a good start. There should also be lobbies of MEPs to bring this matter to their attention.


Thanks again to Ray for bringing this to us.


Mike S.



----- Original Message -----

From: ray jackson

To: mike.simpkin@mixim.org.uk

Sent: Friday, May 03, 2013 6:52 PM

Subject: Fwd: Keep the NHS out of the Free Trade Agreement - sign the e-petition





I feel this is a great effort by the National Pensioner Convention To bring to a wider body of opinion makers and activists .


I believe this revels the serious threat posed to our NHS be the failure to get Section 75 annuled recently in the sham of a debate by the peoples representatives.




Ray Jackson for STUC


TU afliates are being advised to support


-----Original Message-----

From: Neil Duncan-Jordan <nduncanjordan@ntlworld.com>

To: info <info@npcuk.org>

Sent: Fri, May 3, 2013 2:39 pm

Subject: Keep the NHS out of the Free Trade Agreement - sign the e-petition



Dear EC Member


There is currently a free trade agreement between the US and EU, which is being ratified by the European Union. This agreement would open all European markets to the US and vice versa. This includes all the public sector including health and education.


This means that the NHS would be statutorily opened up to not just British companies like Virgin Healthcare and Sainsbury, but if ratified without amendment, would mean that American companies would have a right to bid. They would be able to bring legal action against any CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) that prevented them bidding. The NHS would become a pay day for American Private health care companies and their lawyers paid for by British taxpayers.


Bear in mind these are the very companies that fought so strongly against Obama's socialised Healthcare bill as it would hurt their profits. Now these companies want to run our health service as well.


There is a way out. European members apart from Germany and Britain have exempted their healthcare services from the free trade agreement.


Please sign and pass on the petition below to prevent this happening.




Thank you


Neil Duncan-Jordan

National Officer





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