GMB Protest On Tuesday 11th March At Parliament As MPs Debate The Hospital Closure Clause In The Care Bill
Clause 119 will allow the Secretary of State for Health to close any hospital within 40 days so the 'no decision about you without you' are just empty words when in reality the Government wants to make all the decisions says GMB.
GMB, the union for staff in the NHS, is taking part in a rally from 11am on Tuesday 11th March at College Green across the road from Parliament in Westminster, London. The rally is to oppose a change in law to allow the Secretary of State for Health to close any hospital within 40 days. see notes to editors for open letter on the changes.
The Care Bill enters the Commons for its final stages on 10th March. MPs will deal Clause 119 called the Hospital Closure Clause.
This clause was inserted as a government amendment in the House of Lords. The clause provides new powers to the Trust Special Administrator appointed to take over NHS trust or foundation trust in financial problems to make recommendations for the reconfiguration of services that affect providers across the whole region.
Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer for the NHS, said “We were told the Health and Social Care Act would allow local GP's and Clinicians, people who know patients best, the freedom to make decisions on our health care provision and decisions on our local NHS services.
We were told “Our Clinicians would be Control’ and ‘No decision about patients without patients' yet Clause 119 is a toxic addition to the Care Bill. Clause 119 will allow the Secretary of State to close any hospital within 40 days. That's not Clinicians in control but Clinicians under control.
This is the government’s response to their failure to push through the closure to Lewisham Hospital and represents an attempt to ride rough shod over local democracy.
When the Government failed to push through the closure of Lewisham Hospital, Jeremy Hunt decided to sneak an amendment Clause titled119 to the Care Bill. Not only are the sneaky amends an attempt to ride rough shod over local democracy says GMB the Government mantra 'no decision about you without you' are just empty words when in reality the Government wants to make all the decisions.
This legislation is an attack on our NHS and affront to the principles of local democracy and patient voice that was supposed to underpin the government’s reforms of the NHS.
That could mean Trust Special Administrators can make proposals to close financially healthy and outstanding hospital services simply because they neighbour another Trust that’s in financial distress.
If this clause becomes law, hospitals will be at risk of having services shut down without their agreement, without proper consultation with clinical staff, patients and the public, and without even any agreement from the new GP commissioners.
The NHS may be facing its darkest chapter yet and the GMB and many of the NHS supporters is calling on MPs to vote against it.”
Contact Rehana Azam 07841 181656 or Andy Prendergast GMB Organiser Southern Region on 07984492726 or Michelle Gordon 07866 369259 or GMB press office 08921 289880 or 07974 251 823
The coalition recently lost a battle to close the thriving and solvent Lewisham hospital when an adjacent hospital was suffering financial problems due to government cuts and disastrous PFI debts.
The coalition subsequently rushed through an amendment to the care bill (clause 119) which gives sweeping powers allowing Whitehall bureaucrats to close any English hospitals without full and proper local consultation (Report, 27 February). With this "hospital closure clause" in place, no English hospital will be safe from financially driven closures.
Local patients, clinicians and commissioners will have little meaningful say in the closure process. Whatever happened to the mantra used by the coalition to sell the recent NHS reconfiguration to us all – "no decision about me without me". In effect clause 119 brings about a fast-track hospital closure process.
Clause 119 is pernicious and hugely damaging to the future of healthcare in England and we implore politicians to withdraw clause 119 or vote against it as it moves through Parliament.
Dr David Wrigley GP, Carnforth, Lancashire
Dave Prentis General secretary, Unison
Paul Kenny General secretay, GMB
Frances O'Grady General secretary, TUC
Len McCluskey General secretary, Unite
Professor Cathy Warwick Chief executive, RCM
Phil Gray Chief executive, CSP
Dr Kailash Chand Deputy chair, BMA
Dr Clive Peedell Leader, National Health Action Party
Dr Jacky Davis Co-chair, NHS Consultants Association
Christina McAnea Head of health, Unison
Dr Ron Singer President, MPU
Profesor Ray Tallis
Professor Allyson Pollock
Dr Louise Irvine
Rachael Maskell Head of health, Unite
Dr Iona Heath
Dr David Nicholl
Prof Sue Richards Co-chair, Keep Our NHS Public
John Lipetz Co-chair, Keep Our NHS Public