Long backs NHS Bill

Alliance East Belfast MP Naomi Long has supported a Bill exempting the National Health Service (NHS) from an EU-US trade treaty.

The National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill was debated in the House of Commons today (Friday). Backed by major health unions, it sought to repeal parts of the Westminster Government’s 2012 reform of the NHS in England.

It also included measures to remove the NHS from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), after accusations it would allow private American healthcare companies to bid for NHS contracts.

Although most of today’s debate was specific to England, Mrs Long said it was important to set a precedent about protecting the health service.

“Although the majority of this Bill relates to the NHS in England at this stage, protecting the NHS from further privatisation and the effects of TTIP is an important move which will benefit Northern Ireland in the long-run.

“Issues about the degree to which there should be private involvement in providing services within the wider healthcare system need to be carefully assessed on a case by case basis and the introduction of widespread competition for many services is not appropriate. Today’s victory is a significant step in the right direction.”

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