BMA council deputy chair and trade negotiations lead Dr David Wrigley said:
“The pandemic has served as a significant reminder of just how important the NHS is to us here. It is disappointing that MPs voted against amendments to the Trade Bill last night that would have gone some way to protecting the health service and public health in trade agreements.
“This Trade Bill provided an important legislative opportunity to protect the health and social care sectors by safeguarding future options to roll back the privatisation of the NHS and allow for future scope to restructure towards a more collaborative model.
“There are also very real concerns about what legislative measures the Government will take to fulfill its manifesto promise to uphold the UK’s high standards – amongst the most rigorous in the world – and prevent trade agreements from allowing lower quality food to enter the UK.
“Human, animal and environmental health is at very real risk of coming second place to economic considerations if it is not afforded this important protection. A clear example of this is Ministers’ dual tariff proposal that could allow products like chicken treated with chlorine and other antimicrobial washes into the UK, despite it being linked to higher rates of salmonella infection in humans in countries such as the US, Australia and New Zealand.
“The BMA is clear that the only true protection we have is if our health service and standards are protected by law. As the Bill moves on for consideration by the Lords, it is vital this pivotal point to do so is not lost.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.