NHS: Trade Agreements

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 14th March 2019.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has held with the Secretary of State for International Trade on the potential role of the NHS in future trade deals after the UK leaves the EU.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Department of Health and Social Care works extensively with the Department for International Trade to ensure that there is a clear cross-Government position on the protection of the National Health Service in future trade agreements. Additionally, the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Innovation (Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford) will be representing the Department of Health and Social Care in upcoming Cabinet-level discussions on future trade deals.

The Government has repeatedly made its position on this clear - protecting public services, including the NHS, is of the utmost importance for the United Kingdom. The NHS is not, and never will be, for sale to the private sector, whether overseas or domestic. We will ensure that no trade agreements alter these fundamental facts.

None of the trade agreements that we are party to as European Union members threaten or allow privatisation of public services, including the NHS. The Government will ensure that future trade deals include the necessary exclusions, exemptions, and reservations to ensure that decisions on how to run public services, including the NHS, will always remain the sole competence of UK governments, including the devolved administrations, and not our trade partners.

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