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NHS should not be 'sacrificial lamb' in any US/UK free trade deal, says Unite

All the Tory contenders to be prime minister should categorially rule out the NHS being part of any future US/UK trade deal, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Wednesday 5 June).

Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, said the new prime minister ‘should not offer up the NHS as a sacrificial lamb to US president Donald Trump’.

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “The Tory prime ministerial contenders need to put the national interest – in this case, the safeguarding of the NHS from US privateers - before the personal ambition of getting their hands on the keys to 10 Downing Street.” 

Concern about what a US/UK trade deal could mean for the NHS has heightened this week following remarks by Donald Trump and his ambassador in London, Woody Johnson about the NHS being included in a future US trade deal

Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe added: “The NHS is the UK’s greatest achievement – but for Trump and his ilk, who despise the very idea of universal healthcare free at the point of delivery, all they can see is the money to be made from the sick, frail and vulnerable.

“This was made obvious by the US ambassador’s very frank comments about his country’s intentions towards the NHS in any future US/UK trade deal, a point that was again made by Trump himself. The president’s comments today are not reassuring in any way. Unless the government categorically says that the NHS is not for sale, then patients and staff will face increasing uncertainty and worry.

“The Tory leadership hopefuls need to state categorically to the British public that the NHS is not up for sale to profit hungry US private healthcare companies as part of a future trade deal.

“Leading Tories and their cheerleaders in the media may think that the US offers a blueprint for how a post-Brexit Britain should be – however, it should not be forgotten that millions of Americans don’t have any health insurance which does not inspire confidence.

“We strongly believe that the NHS should not be offered up as a free trade sacrificial lamb to the mercurial whims of Donald Trump - our sick, frail and vulnerable deserve so much better.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065
Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org 
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

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Never have we needed a government that serves the people as much as we do now. When Labour wins, Unite members win." 

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