Jeremy Hunt MP for South West Surrey responds to Surrey Advertiser piece about TTIP & the NHS

See my letter below to the Editor of the Surrey Advertiser in response to the recent claim that the TTIP deal will lead to the privatisation of the NHS

 

The Editor

Surrey Advertiser

Stoke Mill

Woking Road

Guildford

GU1 1QA

 

30th December 2014

 

Sir

Further to the article by Becca Taylor, 'voters call on Hunt to take NHS out

of deal' (19th December 2014), and having not been asked for comment at

the time, I felt it was important for me to write as local MP for South West

Surrey and Secretary of State for Health to set the record straight for the

benefit of your readers.

 

The story includes references to the TTIP deal between the US and EU

currently being negotiated and an Unite the Union Poll which suggests that

respondents, including those from my constituency of South West Surrey,

are concerned that the TTIP might lead to harming the NHS, changing

existing practices or it being 'sold off'. Of course, I would share those

concerns if they were true, however, the facts are that this is categorically

not the case.

 

To confirm, TTIP has no effect on the powers of the NHS at local level -

local GPs who this government put in charge of designing decisions - will

continue to decide who should best provide services for their patients. The

accusation that the trade deal could force the privatisation of the NHS is a

complete red herring, and this has been confirmed by the European

Commission itself - former EU Commissioner, Karel De Gucht stating

recently on Radio 4's Today Programme that: "It's an argument that is

abused in your country for political reasons but it has no grounds.”

 

It’s unfortunate that people are being asked to give their opinion on the basis

of scare stories. A new US/EU trade deal would not result in any

changes being made to existing practices or indeed force the privatisation of

the NHS. This cannot and will not happen, as confirmed by both US and EU

negotiators, and as Health Secretary I would never allow it. What a trade

deal could do though, which would be of huge benefit to the country, is

create thousands of new jobs in the UK, offer improved access to the US

market for our world-class pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors,

boost the economy and create more taxes to fund the NHS.

I completely understand people being concerned but the facts have been

misrepresented. As local MP for South West Surrey and as Secretary of

State I share the passion that there is to preserve the integrity of the NHS and

do hope that this letter will reassure readers and alert them to the truth rather

than the scaremongering.

 

Yours sincerely

RT Hon Jeremy Hunt

 

Member of Parliament for South West Surrey

 

2, Royal Parade,

Tilford Road, Hindhead,

Surrey GU26 6TD