Contrary to Coalition promises, the privatisation and liberalisation of the NHS, opening the publicly- funded NHS to transnational investors, has now been fixed in legislation. The Health and Social Care Act, and particularly its accompanying Section 75 regulations, enforce competitive bidding for contracts. The House of Lords motion to support the annulment of the Section 75 regulations failed on 24th April.
But what did not emerge in the prolonged and polarised debate about these NHS changes was the fact that the Act and the accompanying regulations were prepared to fit with the proposed US/EU free trade agreement which David Cameron is promoting and furthering in his current trip to the US.
While there is certainly a role for ongoing monitoring of the new NHS structures and arrangements, activists must now move beyond the focus on national legislation to recognising, exposing and challenging the wider international agenda of secretive trade deals which underpin it. This is the context into which this public health funding giveaway fits.