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Senior doctors remind Government of pre-election support for independent health assessment

1 March 2018 Media Release - ASMS

Senior doctors are reminding the Labour Party of its pre-election support for an independent health impact assessment of the international trade deal formerly known as the TPPA, and asking when it will happen.

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) wrote to Trade Minister David Parker in December to follow up on the Labour Party’s pre-election position about the TPPA, which has since been renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

“Hospital specialists, along with other front-line health workers, have repeatedly expressed concern about the impact of the proposed trade deal on health care in this country,” says Ian Powell, ASMS Executive Director.

“Assessing the impact of the deal on our public health service is highly complex.  The common-sense response would be to carry out an independent assessment of the health impact, and then make the results publicly available.

“The Labour Party was supportive of this prior to last year’s election, but we’ve yet to see any action. While in Opposition it called on the then Government to commit to an independent health impact assessment and for this to be made available before the agreement was signed.”

He referred to Parliamentary Oral Question No 5, 14 October 2015, for example, as well as Labour’s support for an independent assessment as strongly stated in Labour’s minority viewpoint in the select committee report on the TPPA.

Ian Powell says ASMS is still waiting for a response to its letter from David Parker.

“This is a really critical issue for senior doctors and their patients, as we need to know what New Zealanders are being signed up so that we can minimise any risk to health care and policy decision-making. The Government needs to make good on its pre-election soundbytes rather than betray the serious concerns of hospital specialists.”