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16 September 2014
Drs' privatisation warning

Drs' privatisation warning

A letter published in The Lancet and signed by over 50 doctors warned against the “irrevocable” privatisation of the NHS as a result of the proposed legislation.

One of the signatories, Graham Watt, Professor of General Practice and Primary Care, University of Glasgow, told Holyrood that there has been a “high level of support” and “connivance” from the UK Government for TTIP. But warned that if we want to “preserve” the distinct Scottish NHS then “we have to be wary about this danger on the horizon.”

He explained: “There is a predator waiting to get into Scottish healthcare and the key to the door is this legislation.

"And whichever government is in power in Scotland there is a need to protect the Scottish system from legislation which gives competition the trump card.”

Another signatory, Mike Lean, an NHS doctor and Professor of Human Nutrition, University of Glasgow, told Holyrood that the NHS in England has already been “privatised and dismantled – past the point of return”, and so he hopes the people of Scotland “will all vote to prevent the same fate for our NHS.”

On TTIP, he says it is a complicated issue and its impact unclear, and so it must be considered from a Scottish perspective.

“There appears to be some plus sides to it, like opening up some markets, which could be argued would be to the advantage of an emerging new nation.

“The risk is, of course, that if this is being masterminded by very big business in the United States that we would end up being outgunned.”

A Yes vote would ensure Scotland has a chance to negotiate and take a decisions on this and other issues that are in the best interests of the people of Scotland, he says.

“I think it is possible that the health service and other services may well be exempted from TTIP.

“But it is another example of a deal being done which doesn’t consider the angle of a new, ambitious, re-energised Scotland which is needing a level playing field.”

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