ALMOST 800 letters have been delivered to the offices of a York MP in protest against "the sale of the NHS".
Health campaigners are calling for the Government to stop a trade deal by the EU - the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, which would grant more freedom for private companies to take on healthcare work.
Last night nearly 800 letters were delivered to Julian Sturdy, MP for York Outer, urging him to call on David Cameron to use his veto in Europe to to protect the NHS from the deal which would be tantamount to privatisation.
However, Mr Sturdy yesterday dismissed the claims, saying he believed passionately in the national health service and that it is a "nonsense that we are selling-off the NHS".
The campaigners' plea follows a stunt set up by The People's NHS in which gardens at nine streets around York saw specially-made signs put up, advertising a spoof Cameron & Hunt estate agency.
Anne Leonard, of Defend Our NHS York, said: “Instead of ignoring his constituents Julian Sturdy should be calling on David Cameron to veto the NHS out of TTIP.
"The Tories have opened up the NHS and they are selling it off to the private sector, so to say our NHS is not being sold off is totally irresponsible. Plus the government’s trade minister, Lord Livingston has confirmed that the NHS is part of TTIP.
“Defend Our NHS York along with York Outer residents expect Sturdy to urge Cameron to take health out of this damaging trade deal once and for all."
The letters being delivered to Mr Sturdy's Huntington surgery also urge David Cameron to scrap the Health and Social Care Act which has led to the "mass sell-off of key NHS services".
In response Mr Sturdy said: “I fear Ms Leonard is being somewhat misleading in her references to Lord Livingston’s comments. In actual fact, he has confirmed that TTIP will not have any impact on the NHS and therefore there is no need for the UK negotiation team to push for its exclusion."
He added: "I always welcome letters from constituents on issues that are close to their heart and the NHS is certainly something that is very close to my heart. As such, I will be responding with an open letter to all constituents who have received literature from this Union-backed campaign to try to allay any fears that have been provoked by this group.”