Scotland’s Health Secretary Jeane Freeman and SNP Health Spokesperson and leading breast surgeon Dr Philippa Whitford, have today written to all parties standing in the General Election challenging them to support the SNP’s proposed NHS Protection Bill – to ensure there can be no further privatisation or increase in drug fees as a result of trade deals.
With all parties saying they would not support trade deals which threatened the NHS, Dr Whitford, the SNP candidate for Central Ayrshire and Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
"Each of the four UK Health services are precious to those who use them and it is our duty, as elected representatives, to do everything we can to ensure our health services are protected.
”The SNP will always keep Scotland’s NHS safe in public hands.
“But while the Scottish Parliament has control of most aspects of health policy, we currently cannot stop Westminster governments from entering into trade deals that potentially put our NHS at a variety of risks.
“That is why we have announced that SNP MPs will bring forward a bill that will protect each of the National Health Services across the whole of the UK.
“The proposed legislation would block any future UK government from using the NHS as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations, and require the explicit approval of the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Irish Assembly before any deal could be agreed to.
“It would also require a hard carve out from investor dispute resolution mechanisms for the NHS and goods or services it procures.
“Our NHS has been there to care for and protect us for the last 70 years. Now it is our turn to cross the political divide and stand together to protect our health services.
“If parties are genuine in their commitment to keep the NHS out of trade deals, then there should be no party that cannot back this bill in the next Parliament – helping us stop any future Westminster government, in any circumstance, from trading away our most cherished public resource.
“I trust we can count on your party’s support.
“i look forward to hearing from you on this incredibly important issue.
Jeane Freeman MSP & Dr. Philippa Whitford”