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Strathspey MP says NHS must not be a 'bargaining chip'

By Gavin Musgrove

Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry has backed a Bill to protect the NHS from being used as a bargaining chip in future trade deals with foreign nations.

The SNP will tomorrow bring forward the NHS Protection Bill – a key 2019 manifesto commitment - to enshrine in law that all four of the UK’s health services must be protected as publicly owned, publicly operated and its services publicly commissioned.

He said this will ensure that any future trade deals would require the explicit consent of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Parliaments and Assemblies.

Mr Hendry said: “The NHS in Scotland – and all parts of the UK – is precious to those who use it and we must do everything we can to protect it.

“While health policy is devolved to Scotland, we cannot currently stop Westminster from signing away our NHS in a damaging trade deal, or entering agreements with other nations that would dramatically push up drug prices or risk our public services.

“That is why I am supporting this proposal for a new law that will protect our National Health Services from Boris Johnson and Donald Trump.

“I will not stand idly by while there is a risk that the Tories will trade away our vital health service for a trade deal with Donald Trump.

"Our NHS has been there to care for and protect us for the last 70 years – now it’s our turn to stand up and protect the NHS.”

But Highlands regional MSPEdward Mountain (Scottish Conservatives) said the Prime Minister had made it clear that the NHS will never form part of a trade deal.

He said: "The SNP should be above playing politics with our NHS. They have had control of our NHS for the last nine years it is time to get on with addressing the management problems they have overseen."

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