Suggestions to include in a letter to your MP about Clause 118 of the Care Bill | National Health Service (England) | House Of Lords

You might have heard of the “Save Lewisham Hospital” campaign and their success in the courts has

led to the Government urgently trying to change the law. This “amendment” went through in the House of Lords but it needs to be stopped in the Commons and here’s hoping you can help...
In writing to your MP you might want to do one or more of the following:
1. Ask them to look out for the Care Bill, and in particular Clause 118. This extra clause extends the powers of Trust Special Administrators and was introduced into the Bill as it went through the Lords at the end of October. The second reading of the Bill is set for 16th December but what is crucial is the chance to debate this Lords amendment in the Committee and Report stages in the New Year. 2. Tell them that this Clause gives new extensive powers to Trust Special Administrators (TSAs) who are appointed under the “Unsustainable Provider” regime (UPR) to rescue failing hospital trusts. (These changes, which have been described as a “hospital closure clause”, could have relevance to any hospital in the country - they could reduce services available in your MP’s own constituency and would hamper your rights as residents to a proper consultation on what would amount to hospital reconfigurations.) 3. Explain to them that the UPR by which TSAs are appointed was never intended to be used to reconfigure health services in a wide area, but, should Clause 118 remain part of the Care Bill, it could be used for this purpose. (Perhaps check out your position locally and identify hospitals and services at risk.) 4. Acknowledge (perhaps) that the NHS has to adapt to changing needs but point out that the UPR way of proceeding is completely different to any other health reconfiguration .  The prime aim is cutting expenditure – any input from clinicians is secondary.  It has to be a quick piece of work, with limited opportunity for public consultation. (Normal reconfigurations take years and have all sorts of checks and balances built in because the only specified intention is to make decisions that are in the best interests of health service users and supported by clinical evidence.)  The financial analysis in a TSA’s report is therefore inevitably done hastily and such analysis and alternative operational plans set out may well be full of mistakes. (This proved to be the case in connection with the South London Health Care Trust and threatened closure of services at Lewisham Hospital.) 5. Comment that what is also highly deplorable is the way that this was done by an extra Clause added in to a completely different piece of legislation that happened to be passing through the House of Lords. So, whatever your MP’s views on the rights or wrongs of Government policy on the NHS, this amendment to the Care Bill is a case of the “Executive” trying to ride rough-shod over the “Legislature” – and that is reason enough to reject it. (Where the law is genuinely found to be badly written it can be changed by a short amending Act just for that purpose.)

This is such an important issue all MPs should hear of it again and again from their concerned constituents. Please spread the word...

You might have heard of the “Save Lewisham Hospital” campaign and their success in the courts has led to the Government urgently trying to change the law. This “amendment” went through in the House of Lords but it needs to be stopped in the Commons and here’s hoping you can help...
In writing to your MP you might want to do one or more of the following:
1. Ask them to look out for the Care Bill, and in particular Clause 118. This extra clause extends the powers of Trust Special Administrators and was introduced into the Bill as it went through the Lords at the end of October. The second reading of the Bill is set for 16th December but what is crucial is the chance to debate this Lords amendment in the Committee and Report stages in the New Year. 2. Tell them that this Clause gives new extensive powers to Trust Special Administrators (TSAs) who are appointed under the “Unsustainable Provider” regime (UPR) to rescue failing hospital trusts. (These changes, which have been described as a “hospital closure clause”, could have relevance to any hospital in the country - they could reduce services available in your MP’s own constituency and would hamper your rights as residents to a proper consultation on what would amount to hospital reconfigurations.) 3. Explain to them that the UPR by which TSAs are appointed was never intended to be used to reconfigure health services in a wide area, but, should Clause 118 remain part of the Care Bill, it could be used for this purpose. (Perhaps check out your position locally and identify hospitals and services at risk.) 4. Acknowledge (perhaps) that the NHS has to adapt to changing needs but point out that the UPR way of proceeding is completely different to any other health reconfiguration.  The prime aim is cutting expenditure – any input from clinicians is secondary.  It has to be a quick piece of work, with limited opportunity for public consultation. (Normal reconfigurations take years and have all sorts of checks and balances built in because the only specified intention is to make decisions that are in the best interests of health service users and supported by clinical evidence.)  The financial analysis in a TSA’s report is therefore inevitably done hastily and such analysis and alternative operational plans set out may well be full of mistakes. (This proved to be the case in connection with the South London Health Care Trust and threatened closure of services at Lewisham Hospital.) 5. Comment that what is also highly deplorable is the way that this was done by an extra Clause added in to a completely different piece of legislation that happened to be passing through the House of Lords. So, whatever your MP’s views on the rights or wrongs of Government policy on the NHS, this amendment to the Care Bill is a case of the “Executive” trying to ride rough -shod over the “Legislature” – and that is reason enough to reject it. (Where the law is genuinely found to be badly written it can be changed by a short amending Act just for that purpose.)

This is such an important issue all MPs should hear of it again and again from their concerned constituents. Please spread the word...

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