Plaid Cymru says “Hands off our NHS”

Plaid Cymru has pledged to defend the Welsh NHS from privatisation, warning that a Tory government with a “weak and divided Labour opposition” will be free to sell-off Wales’ public services, including the NHS.

The party will hold a debate in the National Assembly later today in an effort to “send a message” to Westminster that the Welsh NHS is “not for sale.”

The UK Government under the Conservative Party was one of the few EU member states to support the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would have put the NHS at risk of irreversible privatisation. If the UK leaves the Customs Union as a result of Brexit, it will be up to the International Trade Secretary, who supported TTIP, to draw up trade agreements.

Plaid Cymru will hold a debate in the National Assembly later today calling on the Assembly to:

• support the principle of the Welsh National Health Service being kept in public hands;
• express concern at the creeping privatisation of the Health Service in England under the Tories
• demand that future trade deals between the United Kingdom and other parties, where those deals affect devolved policy areas such as health, must be subject to the consent of the National Assembly for Wales.

Commenting, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Health Secretary, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, said:

“The National Health Service is one of Wales’ greatest achievements and it is our duty as politicians to defend it and strengthen it.

“The NHS should always be in the public’s hands and run in the public’s interest – never in the interest of profit.

“We know the Tories are desperate to let the private sector get its hands on our public services and one of the most desperate is the man who will ultimately be signing trade deals, opening the door to privatisation.

“The Labour Party has failed in its duty to provide an opposition. They are too weak and divided to stand up to the Tories – too distracted attacking their own leader to hold the Prime Minister to account. Ever since Tony Blair, the NHS has seen creeping privatisation.

“Unless we take action to defend our NHS through strengthening Wales’ grip, its future will be in the hands of a Tory Government in Westminster being let off the hook by a weak and divided Labour opposition.

“Only Plaid Cymru can stand up to the Tories, hold their feet to the fire and defend our NHS.

“We will work with governments in each UK country to ensure any future trade deals involving devolved areas such as health, require the endorsement of each UK Parliament, including Wales’ National Assembly.”