26 Jul 2008

EU Directive on overseas health means further erosion of NHS

I had been meaning to write something on this Directive for a while - I finally got around to it this evening - here is my letter to The Citizen:

Photo: Greens at recent demo

The EU recently published its proposed controversial Directive on Health Services which would enable citizens of one EU country to go abroad to another member state to seek treatment (i).

This move is not as positive as it might seem at first sight. The way it is put together makes it a charter to allow unfair queue-jumping by the well-off and if passed will mark the end of the way we run healthcare in this country. Only the wealthy can use these new so-called rights and it will also impose unnecessary burdens of cost and bureaucracy, overrule clinical priorities and worsen health inequalities.

We are already seeing our NHS systematically dismantled and sold off to large healthcare providers to run on a profit-making business model. This move further encourages competition between health providers and over-rides the consideration of cost versus medical need.

The only Gloucestershire MP to sign a motion against the current form of the Directive is David Drew. However the Green party remain the only party to support the national "Keep our NHS public" campaign which is linking nurses, doctors and other health care workers to patients and others to stop further closures and privatisation. We must put a stop to this erosion of our NHS.

Cllr. Philip Booth, Stroud District Green Party.

(i) See party group statements here and Open Europe's briefing on the EU Health Directive here.
(ii) EDM 526

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