Health Secretary to be given powers to close local hospitals
MPs have voted to give the Health Secretary the power to close local hospitals, even if they are performing well. Clause 119 of the Care Bill grants the power to cut services or close hospitals to special administrators if a neighbouring trust is struggling financially in order to provide resources to help. The clause came about after the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, was told by the High Court he had overstepped his authority when he decided to cut back the Emergency & maternity units at Lewisham Hospital to save the neighbouring Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich.
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham called the clause dangerous & wrong, declaring it an “…entirely new route for hospital reconfiguration – top-down, finance-led.”