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European Economic Community

Volume 655: debated on Monday 5 March 1962

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asked the Minister of Health what consideration has been given to the effects on the National Health Service if Great Britain joins the Common Market.

Nothing in the Treaty of Rome would involve alteration of our National Health Service.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the six Common Market countries the health system operates on an insurance basis and in many cases on part-payment at the time of service, and that that is a different system from our own National Health Service? Is he further aware that there is a school of thought in this country which is anxious to convert the National Health Service to an insurance basis? Will he make representations to the Lord Privy Seal to ensure that the National Health Service is retained on its present principles if we join the Common Market?

All that is concerned in this Question is that our joining the Common Market would not involve any decision one way or another by this country on the future of the National Health Service.

Has my right hon. Friend been in consultation with the British Medical Association and the British Dental Association about their anxieties that signing the Rome Treaty would have an effect on professional standards in this country and might also affect National Health Service standards?

I have had consultations with those two bodies and will have them in future, but there are specific safeguards about these matters in the Rome Treaty.