Trump, as nurses and doctors, we’re begging you – keep your hands off the NHS

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Dear President Trump,

We are writing to you as concerned NHS nurses, doctors and health professionals ahead of your visit to the UK this week.

We are alarmed to read about documents revealed on Tuesday that showed the US government have been in secret talks with our government about the opening up of British markets after Brexit and what this could mean for the future of our National Health Service.

We are particularly concerned about the conversations about pharmaceutical products and the potential for huge drug price increases for patients, the NHS and the rest of the world.

On the 4 June 2019, you said that the NHS would be on the table in a future US-UK trade deal but since then you have distanced yourself from these comments.

This week, we would like you to rule out once and for all any increases to the cost of US drugs for our NHS and any trade deals that include NHS contracts. We want the NHS off the table completely.

However, words on their own are not enough. To allay our worst fears, we request that you publish new trade negotiating objectives that explicitly rule out any measures that will lead to changes to our pharmaceutical patent and procurement regime, explicitly state that the NHS is “negative listed” and taken off the negotiating table in a US-UK trade negotiation. We also need a commitment that trade talks will no longer be held in secret.

Anything less than this will not reassure us and will leave thousands of dedicated NHS staff in fear for the future. The NHS is our most treasured institution and we will fight to defend it.

Dr Rita Issa (academic clinical fellow in general practice)
Dr Marian Messih (GP)
Lucy Shapcott (emergency nurse practitioner)
Dr Finola O’Neill (GP North Devon)

Martyn Shrewsbury (psychotherapist)
Dr Timesh Pillay (academic clinical fellow)
Susan Chadwick (therapeutic radiographer​)
Clare McIntyre (registered nurse, health visitor​)
Dr Kitty Worthing (junior doctor​)
Dr Helen Thompson (junior doctor​)
For the full list of over 500 signatures, click here

I smiled when I read that Jeremy Corbyn has urged Boris Johnson to stop being the “the world’s leading sycophant towards Trump”. Johnson has seemingly warned Trump not to go overboard in his support towards him, or the election, as this might do more harm than good.

I expect now that Trump, not known for his thick skin, will probably take great offence at this and search out Corbyn, who can reiterate to him at length that the NHS is not for sale.

A president now possibly facing impeachment might seem beneath Johnson to be seen associating with, what chance of a great trade deal is there now? Thank goodness for small mercies and possibly goodbye to a hard-nosed deal which will probably be heavily weighted to our Goliath trading partner.

Judith A Daniels
Norfolk

London Bridge questions

The deceased and injured were the victims of a fatal error by those responsible for Usman Khan’s release from prison less than a year ago.

Furthermore, one has to question what purpose “his monitoring by police since release” served? It certainly was not effective enough to prevent such a gross tragedy.

So many questions arise about how Khan was able to cause an incident at Fishmongers’ Hall and escape from that building to wreak havoc on London Bridge.

What exactly happened at Fishmongers’ Hall? Did he gain entry without being frisked for weapons? Was he an invitee to the conference being held on prisoner rehabilitation? If so, was additional security arranged by conference organisers’ Cambridge University in light of the fact that Khan was being “monitored by the police”?

Anthony Radcliffe
Address supplied

People keep talking about deradiclisation as if the root cause of terrorism on our streets today is religion. What if Islam is not the problem? What if the root cause is political? People want a more intelligent approach yet this possibility is rarely, if ever, aired.

Hazel Strouts
Ashford

Don’t eat the rich

I believe the slogan on the Labour manifesto (”for the many, not the few”) is divisive and ostracising and is openly against the more wealthy UK citizens. I am neither rich nor poor but I am well aware that the wealthy, when targeted like the manifesto proposes, will leave the UK, along with their riches which will have devastating effects on all levels of our society.

C Simpson
Preston

Plant trees aplenty

In 1973, to combat Dutch Elm Disease, the government called for citizens to “plant a tree in ‘73”. Now, with the urgent need for tree planting on a massive scale, (Letters, 1 December) could our new slogan be “plant trees aplenty in 2020”?

Richard Walker
West Malvern

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