Nurses join rally against controversial EU-US trade deal

April 18 demonstration in London calls for NHS to be exempt from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement

Nurses joined hundreds of political activists in London over the weekend to protest against a controversial EU-US trade agreement that campaigners warn will promote the privatisation of vital public services, including the NHS.

Gay Lee

Gay Lee addresses the anti-TTIP Event. Photo credit: David Gee

The trade deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is being negotiated to remove trade barriers between the European Union and the United States.

The demonstration on Saturday kicked off in West London on Shepherd’s Bush Common. It was organised by a number of campaign groups, including War on Want, Global Justice Now, and Keep Our NHS Public.

RCN members joined the rally to call for the NHS to be exempt from the trade agreement.

RCN Inner South East London branch member Gay Lee (pictured), who is also an activist for Keep Our NHS Public, gave a speech to fellow TTIP campaigners on the Common to highlight her concerns about the threat the agreement poses to the NHS and to health regulations in general.

She told Nursing Standard: ‘The day was about raising awareness and to snap at the heels of negotiators so that we make it more difficult for them to make progress.

‘TTIP threatens our health as much as the NHS,’ she said. ‘All the regulatory freedoms being given to multinational companies could mean the regulations that keep us healthy are going to disappear.’

A European Commission consultation, published in January, revealed huge opposition from academics, campaign groups, economic policy experts and healthcare professionals. Of the 149,399 respondents, 97% voiced objections to the agreement. More than one third of the responses came from the UK.

The ninth round of US and EU negotiations on TTIP takes place in New York this week.

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