Drs support call for independent health assessment of TPPA Friday, 28 November 2014

Senior doctors and dentists are formally throwing their weight behind growing calls for a formal independent health assessment of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

A recommendation about the TPPA was put to 134 public hospital specialists at the Annual Conference of their union, the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS), this morning.

They voted overwhelmingly in favour of an independent health assessment, to be based on the draft of the TPPA and carried out prior to the TPPA being signed.

"This represents a decision by some of this country's most experienced public hospital doctors and dentists to add their voices to the tsunami of concern about the consequences for health care in New Zealand if the TPPA is signed," says ASMS Executive Director Ian Powell.

"The Government must listen to the many people speaking up from within the health sector, the agencies and individuals who are on the front line of health care and are concerned about the impact of the TPPA on their patients.

"We have to be influenced by the past behaviours of the vested corporate health businesses in the United States which are among the most powerful players in the TPPA negotiations. Their intent is to undermine New Zealand's health system, one of the best in the world, where it gets in the way of their profits."

Yesterday, in response to a question, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said that Pharmac would continue under the TPPA. However, Mr Powell says the real threat is that it could be emasculated.

The vote at the ASMS conference followed a presentation by Canterbury psychiatrist Dr Erik Monasterio, who told delegates the TPPA would put corporate interests to the fore.

"He urged his medical colleagues to start voicing their concerns, and this was a real call to action for doctors and dentists."

The Conference also overwhelmingly in favour of the following second resolution: 'That the ASMS opposes the TPPA on the grounds that health care will suffer from the loss of national autonomy that may result.