Nav: Home

The NHS is far safer inside the European Union, argues public health expert

May 04, 2016

The NHS is far safer inside the European Union, argues a leading public health expert in The BMJ today.

Professor Martin McKee at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine argues that the EU's international trade agreements now protect public services and do not justify the United Kingdom withdrawing from the EU.

In fact, he warns that any threat to the NHS "comes from our own politicians and not from the EU."

Until recently, Professor McKee was one of many in the health community who were seriously concerned about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - an international trade agreement designed to improve trade between the EU and the United States.

Their main concern was that public services like the NHS would be opened up to competition under TTIP.

This has now changed completely, writes McKee. "The health community, along with others, have made a powerful case for why public services need to be protected. And those negotiating on behalf of the EU have had to listen."

The European Commission's position is now set out publicly, he explains. "And now that we can see the European position, it is apparent that many of our concerns have been taken on board. There are protections for public services, and specifically health services, but also education, social services, and police services."

Recent leaks have confirmed that the USA is pushing its own interests strongly, but both the European Commission and the president of the European Parliament have made it absolutely clear that unless the Americans accept European protections for health services and public health there will be no agreement, he adds.

Of course, some governments have opened up healthcare to competition, such as that in England, he writes, "but this is a matter for the governments concerned and the TTIP still protects them from competition from providers outside the EU."

Outside the EU, a much weakened UK would have to negotiate a separate deal with the US, warns McKee.

The question for anyone concerned about the NHS must be who is more likely to protect it -- those currently campaigning for Brexit - or a European Parliament that has made clear its commitment to protect public services, he concludes?
-end-


BMJ

Related Public Health Articles:

Public health guidelines aim to lower health risks of cannabis use
Canada's Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines, released today with the endorsement of key medical and public health organizations, provide 10 science-based recommendations to enable cannabis users to reduce their health risks.
Study clusters health behavior groups to broaden public health interventions
A new study led by a University of Kansas researcher has used national health statistics and identified how to cluster seven health behavior groups based on smoking status, alcohol use, physical activity, physician visits and flu vaccination are associated with mortality.
Public health experts celebrate 30 years of CDC's prevention research solutions for communities with health disparities
It has been 30 years since CDC created the Prevention Research Centers (PRC) Program, currently a network of 26 academic institutions across the US dedicated to moving new discoveries into the communities that need them.
Public health experts support federally mandated smoke-free public housing
In response to a new federal rule mandating smoke-free policies in federally funded public housing authorities, three public health experts applaud the efforts of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to protect nonsmoking residents from the harmful effects of tobacco exposure.
The Lancet Public Health: UK soft drinks industry levy estimated to have significant health benefits, especially among children
The UK soft drinks industry levy, due to be introduced in April 2018, is estimated to have significant health benefits, especially among children, according to the first study to estimate its health impact, published in The Lancet Public Health.
Social sciences & health innovations: Making health public
The international conference 'Social Sciences & Health Innovations: Making Health Public' is the third event organized as a collaborative endeavor between Maastricht University, the Netherlands, and Tomsk State University, the Russian Federation, with participation from Siberian State Medical University (the Russian Federation).
Columbia Mailman School Awards Public Health Prize to NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T.
Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, was awarded the Frank A.
Poor health literacy a public health issue
America's poor record on health literacy is a public health issue, but one that can be fixed -- not by logging onto the internet but by increased interaction with your fellow human beings, a Michigan State University researcher argues.
Despite health law's bow to prevention, US public health funding is dropping: AJPH study
Although the language of the Affordable Care Act emphasizes disease prevention -- for example, mandating insurance coverage of clinical preventive services such as mammograms -- funding for public health programs to prevent disease have actually been declining in recent years.
'Chemsex' needs to become a public health priority
Chemsex -- sex under the influence of illegal drugs -- needs to become a public health priority, argue experts in The BMJ this week.

Related Public Health Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Setbacks
Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".