Our Government is using the Covid-19 pandemic as a smokescreen behind which they can continue to destroy our NHS without many of us noticing. Privatisation of the NHS, including services designed to tackle the pandemic, has been steam rollering ahead while we are all distracted by our current state of lockdown. But perhaps more urgently needing our attention is the passage of the Trade Bill through parliament which could open up our NHS to the American healthcare corps.
Some people may not be aware of the many reasons why we are all getting worked up about privatisation or even the US-UK Trade Bill. But if you think of the fact that we are currenly spending around £10bn per annum on the process of putting NHS services out to tender and awarding contracts you may start to understand. Or perhaps the fact that, when we give money to the private sector to provide healthcare, £2 out of every £10 we give them goes towards their profits will explain our opposition to privatisation?
But why do we oppose the US-UK Trade Bill and the inclusion of the NHS in that bill? Any trade agreement will open up markets, such as our NHS, to private corporations from the country we form a trade agreement with. Our Government would then be prevented from taking any action that may reduce the capacity of those foreign investors to make profit in that industry. We would have to reduce our regulation to match US standards so nothing stands in the way of those US healthcare giants scooping up profits out of British people’s ill health. Moreover any attempt by our Government to impose regulation that would hamper private corporations profit-making capacity could result in them taking us to court to seek financial compensation. The right to seek this compensation would continue for another 20 years if our Government ended the trade deal.
It is easy to see why this is realy scarey stuff for anyone who cares about our NHS. With this current pandemic it seems incredulous that anyone could not care about our NHS. But clearly, despite all their clapping for the NHS each Thursday evening our Government is still failing to genuinely care. But it is not too late for us to protect the NHS.
Through the campaign group We Own It many people have been given training to lobby their MP in oder to get an ammmendment to the Trade Bill that is currently making its way through parliament to protect the NHS. This Bill will be having its second reading in the House of Commons this Wednesday and an ammendment could exclude our NHS from any future trade deals. Both Trump and Johnson have made statments saying the NHS will be on the table and statements to the contrary. But we need to be sure. Please write to your MP and start making yoir voice heard calling for this ammendment.
We must remain acutely aware of the fact that any pretence of caring about the NHS from our Government is just that – a pretence. Britan has the highest death toll from Covid 19 in Europe for many reasons, all of them avoidable. We have already set up a petition calling for Boris Johnson to take a number of actions to reduce the death toll. Please sign our petition and use your time in lockdown to join campaigns to save our NHS.
It is clear this pandemic is going to lead the world into another recession but by making this half-hearted attempt to tackle the virus our Government is only likely to extend the period before we can start to recover. This is not a choice between public health and the economy. The two go hand in hand.