The controversial Clause 119 of the Care Bill, which was debated in the House of Commons this week, and now returns to the House of Lords, will enable the government in Westminster to go over the heads of local communities and take decisions on local hospitals unilaterally.
The government recently attempted to close down Lewisham Hospital in London, despite it being highly successful. This closure was stopped by the High Court but Clause 119 would give the government the power to do this to other hospitals in the future.
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“People have told me how frustrated they are when decisions on local health facilities like Tameside or Stepping Hill Hospitals are taken without properly consulting them.
“That’s why I voted to reject clause 119 in Parliament on Tuesday because local people deserve better, yet Stockport’s two Lib Dem MPs showed that once again they’d rather keep their Tory friends in Westminster happy than look after the interests of local people.
“The next Labour government will take measures to empower local people. We’ll make sure they have a formal role in drawing up and deciding on proposals for changes to maternity wards, A&E units or any other health service before they get to the consultation stage.
“Communities need to be actively involved in any decisions taken on the future of local health facilities and these decisions should be driven by the best interests of the patients that use them.”