Search

Camden hustings: Privatisation of NHS a key battleground in European elections

15:00 01 May 2014

MEP candidate Lucy Anderson (Labour), chair of Camden Keep our NHS Public Candy Unwin, MEP candidate Caroline Allen (Greens) and MEP candidate Louise Irvine (NHA). Picture: Nigel Sutton

MEP candidate Lucy Anderson (Labour), chair of Camden Keep our NHS Public Candy Unwin, MEP candidate Caroline Allen (Greens) and MEP candidate Louise Irvine (NHA). Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

The fight to secure the future of the NHS and stop privatisation is being seen as a key battleground for MEP candidates as voters get ready to head to the polls.

In a sign of the growing importance of the EU in domestic politics, candidates from the Labour Party, the Green Party and the new National Health Action Party (NHA) standing in the European elections on May 22 have described the vote as “vital to the future of a public health service”.

Several have attempted to raise awareness of an EU/US free trade agreement being negotiated between Brussels and Washington – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Proponents claim its aim is to remove trade barriers in a number of economic sectors to make it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the two continents.

An audience listening to MEP candidates at the London Irish Centre, Camden Square, heard, however, that TTIP would allow the NHS to be “carved open” by US private healthcare giants.

The landmark trade agreement would allow transatlantic companies to bid for NHS contracts and sue the government should its actions affect profit.

Louise Irvine, standing for the NHA, said: “If TTIP does go through then the NHS would be locked into privatisation.

“Even if the British public changed government and wanted to undo the damage done, they couldn’t.

“The EU regulates issues around our medicines, food labelling and doctors.

“All are influenced by the EU and mean the European elections are very relevant for those who care about our healthcare system.”

Defending the free trade agreement, the Department of Health said if passed it had the potential to benefit patients “through promoting collaboration across the pharmaceutical and life science sectors”.

But Caroline Allen, London MEP candidate from the Green Party, disagreed, saying: “We want Europe to be a Europe for people, not for corporations.”

Lucy Anderson, London MEP candidate for the Labour Party, added: “My main fear is that big US companies will be given more access to our NHS services – taking it out of our control.”

The Greens, NHA and Labour have all called for the NHS to be protected from the TTIP agreement.

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 17:12
David Souaan

David Souaan, 20, a Serbian student living in Camden, was arrested on May 31 at Heathrow Airport as he was heading for a flight to Serbia with his mother.

Yesterday, 16:14
Rory Kinnear and Daniel Craig stand at the front of a speedboat on the  canal in Camden, as they film scenes for the new Bond film Spectre.

James Bond films are always filmed at the most glamourous of locations; Venice, the Bahamas, Istanbul and now, Camden Lock.

Yesterday, 16:00
X Factor host Dermot O'Leary with contestants at Fabrizio's restaurant

When a restaurant’s regulars include Kinks legend Ray Davies, actress Billie Piper, and film star Tom Wilkinson, X Factor contestants may seem like small fry in comparison.

Yesterday, 15:00
Headteacher Geraldine Davies with students at UCL Academy, which received a 'requires improvement' rating this year. Picture: Polly Hancock

Camden’s teachers’ union has criticised a “broken” Ofsted for not painting a fair picture of the borough’s schools – after an annual report revealed a chasm between the quality of its primaries and secondaries.

Most read news

The Interview is about an attempt to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Report found there had been instances of ill-treatment during ‘tactical questioning’, but not deliberate torture or murder.

Sometimes Coral gets these freaky royal bet predications right…

The smartphone maker has gone back to the future for its latest smartphone

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition