The British Medical Association (BMA) has urged all Conservative Party leadership candidates to commit to excluding the NHS from any post-Brexit trade deals.
In a letter1 sent on the same day that the US President Donald Trump told a press conference that the NHS would be “on the table” in trade talks, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul asked all candidates to commit to specific safeguards protecting the health service from dangers posed by Brexit.
President Trump’s comments came after the US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson said that the health service would form part of trade negotiations between the two nations.
In his letter to the candidates, Dr Nagpaul writes:
“We are asking you to commit to excluding the NHS from any future trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU. Patients and NHS staff – indeed, anyone who cares about our health service – will understandably be alarmed by recent comments from the US Ambassador that the NHS should be ‘on the table’ as part of a future trade deal.
“We have an unequivocal message for the next Conservative leader and future Prime Minister: profit should never take priority over the protection of the health service and the healthcare of citizens.”
The letter also urges candidates to take all possible steps to avoid a no-deal Brexit and to give the public a final vote on any deal.
Dr Nagpaul continues:
“I do not believe that anyone who cast their vote in the EU referendum was voting for an impoverished or weakened health service, or for a situation in which thousands of highly skilled EU NHS staff would consider leaving the NHS. Now that more is known about the impact that Brexit will have on the UK and on health services specifically, it’s vital that the public can have the final say.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union 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.
- Read the full letter here.
- Find more about the BMA’s work on Brexit here.