Michael Bowsher QC advises UNITE on threat to the NHS from controversial transatlantic trade deal

25 Feb 2016 | by Daiva Eitkeviciene

UNITE, Britain’s biggest trade union, instructed Michael Bowsher QC to advise on the impact of The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on the NHS. The Union presented the legal advice to the government at a meeting with the department for Business, Innovation and Skills on Tuesday 23 February 2016 and is sending a copy to all UK MPs, MEPs, Scotland’s MSPs and Assembly Members from Wales and Northern Ireland.

The advice written by Michael Bowsher, assisted by Azeem Suterwalla, recommends that the government takes concrete action to protect the UK’s health service. The advice contradicts the government’s position that there is no risk and warns that the TTIP, might limit the ability of the future governments to bring services back into the NHS once they were let to the private sector and create a ratchet effect in the direction of privatisation. It concludes there is “a real and serious risk” that key decisions about the NHS would be constrained by the trade deal. The solution, proposed by Michael Bowsher, was “for the NHS to be excluded from the agreement, by way of a blanket exception contained within the main text of TTIP”.

Read full press release issued by UNITE here

Download a copy of the advice from the UNITE website here

Read the following reports in the media: The Guardian; The Independent; Mirror