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Author Archives: Martin McKee

The long awaited Brexit White Paper has finally appeared. The timing was, to say the least, a little unusual, as it was published the day after members of Parliament voted to initiate the process of leaving the European Union. It is, of course, normal for White Papers to be published in advance of parliamentary bills, so that parliamentarians can make an informed decision about how to vote. On this occasion, the Prime Minister had made it very clear that she was opposed to them having any vote at all. The advantage of not having a written constitution is that prime ministers […]
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Landmark study exposes NHS privatisation risks Outsourcing of hospital support services (like cleaning, catering, and laundry) is extremely contentious. Private corporations undercut traditional in-house operations, making profits by driving down wages and conditions of service. This is obviously attractive to cash-strapped hospitals. But does it matter for patients? Does cheaper mean worse, or can the private sector square the circle by providing better service for less? So far, the authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been unconvinced. They have insisted that the existing in-house services be retained, ensuring that cleaners are part of the ward team, with a […]
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The rationale for international trade is clear. No country can be self-sufficient in everything it requires, whether this is because of the geographical distribution of natural resources, climatic constraints on agriculture, or the benefits that come with concentration of particular types of expertise. However, it is important that this trade takes place in ways that bring benefits for all concerned. Unfortunately, this is not the case with many existing global and regional trade agreements. Too often, they are designed in ways that allow the powerful to exploit the powerless, whether by exploiting weak labour standards, damaging the environment, or preventing […]
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TTIP and privatisation of the NHS Many of us have expressed grave concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, better known as the TTIP. In 2013, European governments instructed the European Commission to negotiate a free-trade deal with the United States. Like all free-trade deals, TTIP brings potential benefits, but also considerable risks. However, in this case, the stakes are especially high given the difference between the market oriented health system in the United States and the system of national health systems in Europe based on universal coverage and solidarity. The situation has not been helped by the high […]
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…at a level considered normal in other high income countries Health care is rarely far from the UK headlines, especially today, as junior doctors go on strike. The NHS’s failings are often highlighted prominently, its successes much less so. There is a constant stream of warnings that it is running out of money and thus unaffordable. Those who never liked a tax funded system, which provides care regardless of ability to pay, continue to claim that the UK is somehow unique (it isn’t – many other countries have a similar funding system) and that it will, at some time, be […]
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