Briefings Protecting the NHS in UK Trade Policy


Protecting the NHS in UK Trade Policy

The impact of post-Brexit trade deals on the NHS has been the subject of public debate and media scrutiny, particularly during the 2019 General Election.

While the Government has repeatedly pledged that the NHS is “not on the table” in trade negotiations, leaked documents detailing conversations between UK and US negotiators revealed that health services had been discussed, including US “probing” on the UK’s “'health insurance' system”, and the US has made clear its desire for the UK to change its drugs pricing mechanism.

This briefing sets out some of the ways post-Brexit trade deals can affect the NHS and public health, and proposes four ways the UK can ensure that the NHS is truly protected in trade deals.

As the UK adopts an independent trade policy for the first time in over forty years, it is essential that new trade deals are designed in the interests of public health, and that policymakers understand the various and complex ways in which trade can affect health.