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 from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200852.

Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.

BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.

Read More: Public Health News and Public Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.