What you can do:
1. Write to your MP asking them to strongly oppose clause 118 in parliament. Click here:
http://bit.ly/1awmDm2 for suggested letter but please personalise it to your local circumstances. This is especially important if you have a Lib Dem or Conservative MP.
You can find your MPs contact details here: http://www.writetothem.com/
2. Can you spare another 5 minutes to write to your local newspaper? Suggested letter here: http://bit.ly/1doTeg1.
3. Are you a healthcare professional? Please sign a letter co-ordinated by campaigner Dr David Wrigley here: www.surveymonkey.com/s/Clause118.
4. You can also submit evidence about why you think this clause is wrong directly to the committee examining the bill at
Jeremy Hunt: Axe the hospital closure clause
of 200,000 signatures
To: Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health
Dear Secretary of State for Health,
We call upon you to withdraw Chapter 4 and clause 118 of the Care Bill (the ‘hospital closure clause”) that will make it possible to close viable hospitals without proper consultation.
Why is this important?
Recently, Jeremy Hunt lost his appeal against closing Lewisham Accident and Emergency. The law that protected it would be removed if Clause 118 passes.
The Clause will allow the government to close or downgrade any hospital in the country, with barely any consultation of local people, if there is a Trust in financial difficulties anywhere nearby. They will be able to appoint an administrator to one Trust who will be able to take decisions to fast-track the closure of hospitals in another area - no matter how successful or popular those hospitals are - using the 'unsustainable provider' legislation that was designed only for insolvent Trusts. If it becomes law, this Clause means that *no* hospital will be safe, no matter how successful.
Check out this link
for more information.
We will update you on further campaign actions you can get involved in. Please share on Twitter and Facebook.
How it will be delivered
We will deliver the petition on 27 February, prior to a final vote in the House of Commons on clause 118, which is expected in March.
Some MPs, defending clause 118, are arguing there will be public consultation. But here's what Earl Howe said when introducing the clause:
"This clause would clarify that the statutory obligations of commissioners to involve and consult patients and the public in planning and making services changes do not apply in respect of the trust special administration regime"
The trust special administrator (TSA) regime requires only ONE public meeting. The local clinical commissioners (CCG) can be overridden if they object. There is no provision for scrutiny by the local authority.
The TSA "consultation" process does not satisfy the Gunning principles which are about ensuring consultation is genuine, timely and gives a real opportunity to shape outcomes.
In summary, the TSA regime has no requirement to conduct public consultation in either the legal or the commonly understood sense.
The Care Bill returned to parliament early January, amid mounting opposition to Clause 118.
A committee of MPs is examining the Bill, with Clause 118 (dubbed the ‘Hospital Closure Clause’ by campaigners) likely be discussed at the end of the month.
The whole Bill then returns to the floor of the House of Commons in February for any further amendments and a final vote.
Government MPs are likely to be nervous about voting through the Hospital Closure Clause. The NHS is the number two issue of importance to voters, and even more so in marginal seats, according to polling by Lord Ashcroft.
The clause could also be an early test for Nick Clegg’s new claims that the Lib Dems have a “very different vision” from the Tories, and the Lib Dems commitment to localism and democracy.
latest news! There will now be a vote on the Care Bill on Monday. The Labour Party has put a "reasoned amendment" opposing a second reading of the Care Bill on several grounds, including clause 118. That makes our petition hand in all the more important so please come to Dept of Health at 1pm on Monday. Please also write to your MP urging them to vote for this "reasoned amendment" to the Care Bill.
"Get your clause off our hospitals!"
We'll be doing an interim hand in of the petition on Monday 16 December as its the 2nd reading of the Care Bill to which clause 118 is attached. There won't be a vote on clause 118 on Monday - that should come later in the parliamentary process - but we want to alert all MPs to this issue as they need to realise just what a threat this clause is to local hospital services and to local decision making and accountability. Please join us at 1pm outside Department of Health, 79 Whitehall.
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