NHS facing threat from US deal, says Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon spoke to Holyrood convenors yesterday. Picture: PA

Nicola Sturgeon spoke to Holyrood convenors yesterday. Picture: PA

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Scotland’s NHS must be given “express” protection from a controversial transatlantic trade deal amid fears it could be opened up to privatisation, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The warning came after new legal advice from the Unite union suggested a “potentially negative impact” on the NHS.

It is feared public health providers could be exposed to private “cherry picking” under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being negotiated between the US and the European Union.

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The First Minister told a committee of Holyrood convenors yesterday: “We had responses from the UK government and European Commission on the issue of the health service which said, ‘Don’t worry, there’s nothing to see here, it will all be fine’.

“That may be the case, but I’m frankly not prepared to assume that will be the case until we see the letter of the law. The easiest way to put this beyond any doubt is to say that there should be an express ­exclusion for public services generally, but particularly the NHS.”

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