This petition was submitted during the 2015–2017 Conservative government
Petition Ringfence the NHS from trade deals
As the UK leaves the EU, the NHS should not be used as a bargaining tool in trade negotiations and deals with other countries
This petition closed early because of a General Election Find out more on the Petitions Committee website
This response was given on 7 February 2017
The Government is clear – the NHS is and always will be protected in trade deals. Our world-class healthcare sector benefits from international trade and should not be excluded.
Read the response in full
It is not in the UK or wider interests to exclude the UK healthcare sector from trade and investment agreements.
Through trade agreements the UK’s world-class pharmaceutical and medical care and devices sectors can benefit from improved access to overseas markets to sell products and bid for government procurement contracts.
The NHS benefits directly from international trade. As an example the UK Government Healthcare UK initiative works to directly promote the UK healthcare sector (including the NHS) abroad and to strengthen the sectors’ capacity to operate and succeed internationally.
Trade deals do not threaten Government policy-making regarding delivery of public services.
Trade and investment agreements do not force Governments to privatise the delivery of any public services. Similarly, such agreements do not prevent governments from introducing new legislation to safeguard public health or safety.
The UK Government is committed in particular to the principles of a NHS, free at the point of use, based on clinical need and not ability to pay.
It will always remain for the UK Government to decide how public services are run and, in particular, who is best placed to provide NHS services on the basis of patient need.
Department for International Trade