Cancer and end-of-life services relied on by some 3.8 million beneficiaries of the British National Health Service may be sold off to private U.S. health care companies that will be free to restructure the services along lines of profitability rather than quality of care.
The U.K.’s cherished public health service is in danger of being sold off to private corporations via a trade deal that would create a single market between the European Union and the United States and open future British governments to massive lawsuits in international courts should they attempt to reverse the decision.
Britain may not have the world’s model medical service for long. NHS official Kailash Chand predicts the inexpensive and efficient nationalized system could be replaced by a largely privatized version involving worse “access, equity, health outcomes and cost” within five years.
Amid a $31-billion budget crisis, thousands of British doctors and nurses will lose their jobs unless they agree to accept lower salaries, longer working hours and other conditions, according to a leaked document obtained by The Sunday Times.
In order to profit from high exchange rates on the international market, British pharmacists and wholesalers have limited the amount of certain drugs being sold to the National Health Service. The action has resulted in a shortage that has endangered patients with life-threatening conditions and inconvenienced many others.