Monday, 16 December 2013

The Care Bill and 'the hospital closure clause' - debate in the Commons today, 16th December

Following on from the entry looking at the 38 degrees campaign locally
Futures Forum: The Future of Health in Sidmouth: "38 degrees" campaign 
other groups are expressing concern about the Care Bill being considered today in the Commons:
Commons Second reading: Care Bill - News from Parliament - UK Parliament
Keep Our NHS Public
London boroughs facing £1.14 billion care bill

Stop the hospital closure clause

The government is trying to quietly rush through a law making it much easier to close our hospitals. It's time to make our voices heard!
STOP PRESS - It's just been announced that the hospital closure clause (along with the rest of the Care Bill) will be debated and voted on in the Commons on 16th December so don't delay - sign the petition and write to your MP today!
There is very little time to act to stop the government making it much easier and quicker to close local hospitals with hardly any consultation. Please act now - there are several things you can do to help protect your local hospitals.
For more information see here and here.
The government is trying to quickly change the law to make it much easier and faster to close local hospitals and A&Es without any proper consultation of local people.
The law change will be debated and voted on in the Commons on December 16th as part of the Care Bill, which has already been through the Lords. Clause 118, the hospital closure clause, would allow any hospital to be closed down, or lose its A&E, maternity or other services, with hardly any local consultation. MPs must ensure this dreadful Clause does not become law.
Currently the law allows such undemocratic and fast-track closures to happen only at hospitals that are in such serious financial or clinical difficulties that they are taken into ‘Administration’.
But the hospital closure clause would change the law. It allows fast-track closures - or privatisations - to happen to any hospital, however high quality, popular and solvent, if it has a more struggling hospital nearby. And given the cuts currently being inflicted on the NHS, there will be few hospitals in the country that aren’t somewhere near a struggling hospital.
Why would anyone want to close down a popular, well-run A&E, maternity unit, or whole hospital? Especially when our hospitals are already full to overflowing?
Ask the people of Lewisham. There the government tried to fast-track the closure of Lewisham’s A&E and maternity services, to redirect patients (and money) to a different Hospital Trust that had large Private Finance Initiative debts to pay off to the banks.
The courts found that the government had broken the law. So now the government is trying to change the law.
If they succeed, no hospital will be safe.
This is a very dangerous move which will put thousands of lives at risk. 
The government should think again. We urge MPs from every party to work to scrap this Clause of the Care Bill - and not to vote for the Bill unless it is dropped. The Bill has already had its first reading in the Commons, and the crucial second reading is on 16th December. 
We would hope that every MP would be concerned that the Care Bill is being used to drastically reduce the rights of us, their constituents, to have a say in decisions about our local hospital provision. The hospital closure clause could be used to threaten hospital provision in any area. It is totally inappropriate to use the fast track ‘failure regime’ to reconfigure hospital provision more generally.
If services need redesigning the law must ensure this is with proper and extensive consultation with local people. This process cannot be rushed. Decisions should not be based on the needs of investment banks. What happened to the government promises that in the NHS there would be ‘no decision about me, without me’?

Stop the hospital closure clause | openDemocracy

No comments: