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EU referendum debate: is the NHS finally up for sale?

As the EU referendum looms on 23 June, policy experts discuss the impact of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on the health service

For half of its near 70-year history there has been an agenda to marketise the NHS through the aim of privatising some - if not all - of its services. Progress has been slow until now.

Photo: iStock

However, after steadily gaining ground the marketisation agenda is now poised for further liberalisation with the EU-negotiated Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The 2008 global financial crisis prompted concerns over the market-driven direction the UK government was attempting to take the NHS (Regan and Ball 2010). Features of a more market-driven NHS were a change in transactions through price-based intensive competition and privatisation ownership being handed over to non-state providers (Krachler and Greer 2015).

At the time it was felt the commissioning agenda was an innovation related to the funding crisis. However, Tallis and Davis (2013) suggested that market reforms had been slowly developing for 30


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