CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

INTERNATIONAL TRADE – SAFEGUARDING OF THE NHS [51518] – 21 May 2020

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to her oral contribution of 20 May 2020, Official Report, col. 612, that (a) the Government Procurement Agreement to which the Trade Bill relates will not apply to the procurement of UK health services, and (b) the NHS is not on the table, what safeguards will exist to ensure that (i) the NHS cannot be exposed to action in international courts as a result of any new trade arrangements facilitated by the Bill for (A) pharmaceuticals and (B) medical services, and (ii) personal data of NHS clients cannot be transferred abroad as a result of any aspect of the provisions of that Bill once enacted.  [51518]

[Due for Answer on 4 June.]

ANSWER

The Minister for International Trade (Ranil Jayawardena): When HM Government is negotiating trade agreements, we have been clear that the NHS will not be on the table. The price the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table. The services the NHS provides will not be on the table.

The NHS is protected by specific carve outs, exceptions and reservations in the trade agreements to which the United Kingdom is party. HM Government will continue to make sure these are included in future trade agreements.

The Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) provides British businesses with guaranteed access to overseas procurement opportunities, estimated to be worth £1.3 trillion per year. Health and social care services are not, and will not, be included in the United Kingdom’s market access schedule to the GPA, meaning that they will not be opened to GPA competition.

Patient data will only ever be shared where used lawfully, treated with respect, held securely and where the right safeguards are in place.