The clause allows the Secretary of State to close hospital services in well-performing NHS Trusts, if they have a neighbouring service that is in financial administration. This means that hospitals and departments which provide good quality care can be shut down for financial reasons even though they are on a sound financial footing, and it allows the Secretary of State to slash services against the advice of doctors and the wishes of local people.
Emma met with campaigners outside the Houses of Parliament to protest the clause, and spoke out against the Government’s plans in the Commons Chamber.
Emma told the House:
“The clause has attracted more controversy than any other in the Bill, and with good reason. It ignores the will of clinicians and the communities they serve. It puts at risk services in every corner of the UK. The Government must change course now.”
Labour MPs voted against the clause, but were unfortunately defeated by Conservative and Liberal Democrat Members. You can read Emma’s contribution to the debate by clicking here.
Emma also took the opportunity to criticise the Government’s failure to address the funding crisis in social care through the Bill. Under the Coalition adult social care departments across the country have lost £2.68 billion of funding, with the result that many have had to downgrade services.
“Those people who are seeing their care packages disappear, those who are locked out of the care system, and everyone who turns up at a hospital to find that departments are shut—let them know that it is this coalition’s fault. I hope all coalition members are proud of themselves.”
You can read the whole of Tuesday’s debate by clicking here.