Jon Trickett

Hemsworth Labour

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Tories told they are out of line, so attempt to change the law

The Tories like to get their own way.

They also think they can run the NHS like a private business.

And now David Cameron has broken his promise to stop “centrally dictated” closures of A&E and maternity wards with this terrible Care Bill.

The Tory Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt recently attempted to close parts of Lewisham hospital. Lewisham was running a perfectly successful hospital when the Tory attack on the NHS began.

The Trust Special Administrator (TSA) handpicked by Jeremy Hunt was employed to review South London Healthcare. The nearby and successful Lewisham hospital did not come under the remit of this job. However, he nearly caused devastation in his attempt to sell off Lewisham Hospital’s buildings and push patients to use other hospitals which were much, much further away.

These moves were met with extreme opposition from local residents and the government were eventually blocked from closing departments of Lewisham hospital by a High court ruling. The Judge ruled that Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt had acted completely outside of his powers.

So, in the face of opposition by the courts, the Tories are now trying to pass Clause 119 of the Care Bill.

This clause, popularly known as the ‘hospital closure clause’ is extremely worrying. It could see departments, or even entire hospitals close without proper consultation with specialists, consultants, staff or the local community, regardless of whether the hospital is doing well or not.

I have been contacted by many of my constituents expressing their concern over the passing of Clause 119 of this Bill and I would like to assure them all that I will be attending the vote and opposing this Tory power grab.

Amendment 16 (NC16)will secure the right of doctors and patients to be included in decision making and would not allow a Trust Special Administrator to close a department or hospital without consultation, this would at least attempt to balance local and national decision making.

I will vote for the fundamental principles of the NHS. We need to keep our hospitals safe from damage by opposing fast tracked and financially driven closure which occur without even the pretence of proper consultation.

The NHS is simply not safe in the Tories’ hands.

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