Major Call To Support Petition To Keep NHS Free From Privatisation

So, you don’t want to pay private medical insurance like they do in America and have a two-tier country of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ when it comes to health care cover.

The new People’s NHSni Campaign group, in conjunction with the Down Community Health Committee will be launching its local petition calling for health services to be excluded from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations currently ongoing.

Down Community Healthj Committee chairman Eamonn McGrady said: “The privatisation of the NHS represents a massive threat to our services The NHS and all its constituent parts belong to the people, serve the people and are paid for by the people.

NHS_petition_screen“The TTIP is a trade deal between the US and the EU. It could mean an irreversible transfer of services from the NHS to private companies.

“Mr Cameron needs to exclude NHS services from these discussions, just as the French Government has acted to exclude its film industry.

“Since 2012, £12 billion of public money has gone to companies with profit objectives to run NHS services. In Northern Ireland alone, we believe that almost £145 million pounds has been similarly paid in the last year.

“One wonders what we’re going to hear next. The Irish News recently revealed that the 3Fivetwo private contractor has leased an entire floor in the new Acute Hospital in Enniskillen for the past year with 200 operations having been performed and 650 outpatients visits.

NHS Needs you - 330“The National Health Service should be focused on service, as its name suggests and not on profit. The community expects nothing less.

We urge the entire community to rally round the NHSni campaign.”

The new campaign group called the People’s NHSni is warning  that Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) could simply damage our health!

To date, the campaign is gaining momentum and thousands are signing the petition at hospitals calling for health to be excluded from TTIP. The campaign rolls out to the following hospitals this week: City, Royal, Ulster, Lagan Valley have begun, and Derry, Downe and Craigavon are this week.

A new campaign group – People’s NHSni – has welcomed the massive public response to a petition calling for health to be excluded from the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP). Speaking yesterday (Monday 21 July), campaign spokesperson Reverend Chris Hudson called on local MP’s to write to Prime Minister David Cameron to use his veto to remove the health sector from the emerging new US and EU trade agreement presently under negotiation.

Rev Hudson said: “TTIP is being billed as the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated and aims to bring together the United States and European Union in a single market. But the deal has a dark side. If the profits of a company with American investors are threatened by changes to government policy, TTIP will allow them to sue in secret courts, potentially for billions of pounds.

“If health is included in the TTIP then it would open the NHS to wholesale privatisation and more worryingly, would allow private companies who buy in to sue if we ever moved to get it back.

“David Cameron could easily use his seat on the EU Trade Council to exclude our health service from these negotiations. The French have already successfully used their veto to save their film industry.

“Our campaign has written to all 18 Northern Ireland MPs to ask if they can call for the Prime Minister to exclude healthcare from TTIP and to ensure that democratically-elected lawmakers are not overruled by secret courts.

“We have received a huge response from the public when we recently collected signatures at our petition in the Ulster, Royal, City and Lagan Valley hospitals. We are now planning similar petition collection events in Altnagevlin, Craigavon and Down with the support of local communities and concerned groups.

“Already both the SDLP and Alliance MPs have promised that they will write to the Prime Minister on this and Sinn Fein representatives in Brussels have committed their support. We are now asking members of the public to lobby their political representatives on this important issue”, Mr Hudson added.

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