WHILST Europe continues to dominate much of the national news I have been receiving a lot of correspondence about another great point of debate in this country – healthcare and the NHS, specifically ‘privatisation’ and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Use of private providers in the NHS does not mean moving to a system where you have to pay for healthcare at the point of use. What it can mean is that some services are provided by organisations other than the NHS itself.

That could be hearing aids made by Boots or specialist care provided by charities like Mencap.

In 2010, 4.7 per cent of the NHS budget was spent outside the NHS; by last year that figure was at 6 per cent.

TTIP has become something of a focal point for mistrust of large corporations, the government and, naturally, the European Union. The main concern is that it will allow US corporations to buy up the NHS.

It is contradictory to claim the NHS is underfunded and in crisis and at the same time that there are foreign companies desperate to get their hands on it.

In fact, the detail of TTIP should ensure that the amount of private sector provision in public services is a matter for the national government but I would rather we were negotiating our own trade deals than handing that to the committee of 28 that is the EU.

In the NHS in Somerset we need to focus more on children’s mental health. We need to learn more about the effects of social media, advertising and fashion on their lives.

Better funding is being made available for mental health and I will be working in Westminster to highlight the problems and difficulties affecting an increasing number of families.

Marcus Fysh