Wither our NHS?

SO there is now evidence in recently leaked documents that elements of our NHS have been discussed at six meetings between officials from the USA and the UK. It is fair to say that there is no evidence of involvement of present Government Ministers (though Dr Liam Fox was involved). It is also true that the last meeting was held before Mr Johnson became PM.

However, if as anticipated, and on polling evidence now seems most likely, Brexit occurs in January 2020, the EU will be after the best deal they can get in trade negotiations with the UK. Any deal would have to pass not only each of the 27 member states but also a number of regional governments. Each will have their own particular demands. Fishing rights could well be a contentious issue. France and Spain will fight tenaciously to preserve their right of access to British waters. Other countries will fight for their own interests. All to be decided in just eleven months. Faced with this situation and the deadline of December 2020, the prospect of a no-deal exit at the end of the transition period becomes much more likely.

In such uncertain times, how strong will Mr Johnson's position be in negotiations with Mr Trump when deciding details of our future trade relationship with the USA. Mr Johnson will be desperate to get a quick deal and Trump will be determined to squeeze out every concession possible. The USA is so much larger than the UK and will have a much stronger bargaining position. US pharmaceutical companies are already putting great pressure on Trump to get maximum penetration into the UK health market. They will aim to get significant increases in drug prices, currently so much lower in the UK than in the USA. Drugs in the US are two and a half times more expensive than in the UK. Any agreement arrived at will in effect be an international treaty. Cancellation by any future UK Government will be very difficult. Crippling financial penalties could well be involved.

We have now been made aware in the recently leaked documents that the US officials had minuted that there was to be no discussion of anything relating to climate change. It was a forbidden subject. The UK officials made no similar declaration regarding the future of our NHS. Why? I think we can draw our own conclusions.

If this document was in no way contentious, why was it not openly published? What could be the reason for trying to keep it hidden?

Mr Johnson assures us that the NHS is safe in his hands. Do you believe him? Does he have a reputation of always being strictly accurate with facts?

I fear Nye Bevan would be rotating in his grave.