St Helier Hospital campaigners fight against new 'hospital closure' law

Sutton Guardian: Siobhan Tate (far right) with campaigners against Clause 118 Siobhan Tate (far right) with campaigners against Clause 118

Health campaigners want MPs to block a new law they think could leave St Helier Hospital in ‘serious danger’.

The Carshalton and Wallington Labour party are petitioning MP Tom Brake to oppose and vote against clause 118 of the Care Bill, which they believe could see the beleaguered hospital downgraded with minimal public consultation.

Sutton Guardian:

MPs Paul Burstow and Tom Brake 

The clause, which is currently going through Parliament, states that an administrator taking action in relation to a hospital trust in financial difficulties would be able to take action in relation to another NHS trust which is "necessary for and consequential on action taken in relation to that NHS trust".

Campaigners fear this would allow administrators to close hospitals near to failing trusts - similar to what was attempted with Lewisham Hospital in South London.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) would have just 40 days to consult on changes proposed by an administrator which campaigners fear would limit the power of any public consultation which could prevent hospital closures.

The views of CCGs could be overruled by NHS England which would result in local decision makers having no real power over key reconfigurations of their hospital services.

Prospective Labour party candidate for Carshalton and Wallington, Siobhan Tate, dubbed the Clause 118 the ‘hospital closure clause’.

She said: "Clause 118 would give the health secretary sweeping new powers to impose fast-track closures and downgrades on any hospital; regardless of how well performing it is, if there is a struggling hospital nearby."

However, Mr Brake said Clause 118 did not allow for the ‘fast track’ closure, backdoor privatisation or downgrading of any hospital and was not relevant to St Helier’s current situation.

He said: "The safety and well-being of patients should always come first. In the rare event of the failure of a health care provider, it is important to get on with resolving the problems whilst ensuring patients can continue to access the care they need."

The MP for Sutton and Cheam, Paul Burstow, agreed and said: "No hospital is an island, each is part of a complex web of services and relationships.  When an administrator is appointed it is important they can look at that web and work out how best to safeguard local health care.  That is what 118 does."

To sign the Carshalton and Wallington Labour party petition against Clause 118 visit change.org

Comments (13)

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3:57pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Niki R says...

Messrs Brake and Burstow either do not understand the Clause, the risks or the threat to St Helier, or they are deliberately being naive. Mr Brake needs to step up and REALLY fight to save St Helier, not just say he is. This Clause has been brought about because Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt lost to campaigners who fought for Lewisham Hospital. It's legislation made in spite. Lewisham Hospital was not failing, yet they tried to close departments there. St Helier is not failing, and they are trying to close servives. Clause 118 will stop campaigners winning battles for their health services as they did in Lewisham- in fact, we won't even be permitted to fight for them. They'll just be closed at the whim of bureaucrats. Mr Brake- put people before position, and constituents before Conservatives- back us and oppose Clause 118.
Messrs Brake and Burstow either do not understand the Clause, the risks or the threat to St Helier, or they are deliberately being naive. Mr Brake needs to step up and REALLY fight to save St Helier, not just say he is. This Clause has been brought about because Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt lost to campaigners who fought for Lewisham Hospital. It's legislation made in spite. Lewisham Hospital was not failing, yet they tried to close departments there. St Helier is not failing, and they are trying to close servives. Clause 118 will stop campaigners winning battles for their health services as they did in Lewisham- in fact, we won't even be permitted to fight for them. They'll just be closed at the whim of bureaucrats. Mr Brake- put people before position, and constituents before Conservatives- back us and oppose Clause 118. Niki R
  • Score: 9

4:06pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Bonnie Craven says...

Clause 118 comes about as a result of the legislation Burstow helped to write when he was a Junior Minister for Health under Lansley. Brake co-authored the Gagging Bill as Deputy Leader of the House under Lansley. Far from working to save our local hospital as the pledged to do during the 2010 General Election campaign, they have conspired with the Tories to take our highly valued and heavily used hospital from us, and what's more, they don't want us to make a noise about it!

Brake and Burstow have stitched residents up to please their Tory Paymasters. They are a disgrace and it is time everyone in the borough knew it!
Clause 118 comes about as a result of the legislation Burstow helped to write when he was a Junior Minister for Health under Lansley. Brake co-authored the Gagging Bill as Deputy Leader of the House under Lansley. Far from working to save our local hospital as the pledged to do during the 2010 General Election campaign, they have conspired with the Tories to take our highly valued and heavily used hospital from us, and what's more, they don't want us to make a noise about it! Brake and Burstow have stitched residents up to please their Tory Paymasters. They are a disgrace and it is time everyone in the borough knew it! Bonnie Craven
  • Score: 13

4:53pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Forty_two says...

Well said Bonnie and Niki.

The neck of these men continues to astound me. I hope you remember these sick, and I would argue *criminal* acts come the next election.
Well said Bonnie and Niki. The neck of these men continues to astound me. I hope you remember these sick, and I would argue *criminal* acts come the next election. Forty_two
  • Score: 12

9:18pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Hove Ex-Pat says...

Not only have the Liberal two stitched up their constituents, but the conservative MP where I live, Epsom, has been just as ineffective with regards to the Epsom part of the group. I don't think there is much chance of getting Grayling out next year, but I'm sure those terrible two in Sutton & Carshalton are not so secure. So vote them out, just for me, & a few hundred thousand others.
Not only have the Liberal two stitched up their constituents, but the conservative MP where I live, Epsom, has been just as ineffective with regards to the Epsom part of the group. I don't think there is much chance of getting Grayling out next year, but I'm sure those terrible two in Sutton & Carshalton are not so secure. So vote them out, just for me, & a few hundred thousand others. Hove Ex-Pat
  • Score: 10

11:39am Wed 5 Feb 14

Sameer the First says...

Again, I urge my Labour-supporting comrades to ease off with the party political spin. The idea of centralising some NHS services was introduced by Lord Darzi under the last Labour government. In the run-up to the election, Andrew Lansley made much of the planned A&E closures at places like Chase Farm under Labour 9the let it go ahead anyway). It was under Labour that strokes and heart attacks started to be treated in central units like St George's rather than at St Helier, though to be fair, these are changes that seem to have improved results.
Again, I urge my Labour-supporting comrades to ease off with the party political spin. The idea of centralising some NHS services was introduced by Lord Darzi under the last Labour government. In the run-up to the election, Andrew Lansley made much of the planned A&E closures at places like Chase Farm under Labour 9the let it go ahead anyway). It was under Labour that strokes and heart attacks started to be treated in central units like St George's rather than at St Helier, though to be fair, these are changes that seem to have improved results. Sameer the First
  • Score: -4

11:51am Wed 5 Feb 14

Forty_two says...

Sameer,

Andrew Lansley did not make changes while "under Labour".

The privatisation was NOT started under Labour, it was started under the John Major government.

I understand that the concept of CCGs was put in place by John Redwood.

Interesting you should mention the issue of stroke treatment centralisation. This very issue is one trumpeted by BSBV, but if you look closely, you'll find that one such "Stroke Centre" is Charing Cross hospital, which is under threat of closure.

I take your point that none of the big three political parties is entirely free from blame, but what this conservative led coalition has done, with the able help of their LieDem lapdogs has done is to pour petrol onto the fire.

Right now, only the Labour party has pledged to repeal the H&SC bill (with the possible exception of the NHA party).
Sameer, Andrew Lansley did not make changes while "under Labour". The privatisation was NOT started under Labour, it was started under the John Major government. I understand that the concept of CCGs was put in place by John Redwood. Interesting you should mention the issue of stroke treatment centralisation. This very issue is one trumpeted by BSBV, but if you look closely, you'll find that one such "Stroke Centre" is Charing Cross hospital, which is under threat of closure. I take your point that none of the big three political parties is entirely free from blame, but what this conservative led coalition has done, with the able help of their LieDem lapdogs has done is to pour petrol onto the fire. Right now, only the Labour party has pledged to repeal the H&SC bill (with the possible exception of the NHA party). Forty_two
  • Score: 5

1:15pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Michael Pantlin says...

So Tom Brake has put his bliinkers on again and tells us he sees no danger and Paul Burstow is keen to support the enabling of fast downgradings. Just what you expect from a couple of slaves to the Tory led Coaliition which is trying everything to privatise our public NHS and let their private health business friends into the void they create with their wrecking machine. When they are not sitting on the fence they are sitting on their hands.
So Tom Brake has put his bliinkers on again and tells us he sees no danger and Paul Burstow is keen to support the enabling of fast downgradings. Just what you expect from a couple of slaves to the Tory led Coaliition which is trying everything to privatise our public NHS and let their private health business friends into the void they create with their wrecking machine. When they are not sitting on the fence they are sitting on their hands. Michael Pantlin
  • Score: 9

1:17pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Michael Pantlin says...

Niki R wrote:
Messrs Brake and Burstow either do not understand the Clause, the risks or the threat to St Helier, or they are deliberately being naive. Mr Brake needs to step up and REALLY fight to save St Helier, not just say he is. This Clause has been brought about because Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt lost to campaigners who fought for Lewisham Hospital. It's legislation made in spite. Lewisham Hospital was not failing, yet they tried to close departments there. St Helier is not failing, and they are trying to close servives. Clause 118 will stop campaigners winning battles for their health services as they did in Lewisham- in fact, we won't even be permitted to fight for them. They'll just be closed at the whim of bureaucrats. Mr Brake- put people before position, and constituents before Conservatives- back us and oppose Clause 118.
Spot on Mikki R, I think deliberately being naive is the position.
[quote][p][bold]Niki R[/bold] wrote: Messrs Brake and Burstow either do not understand the Clause, the risks or the threat to St Helier, or they are deliberately being naive. Mr Brake needs to step up and REALLY fight to save St Helier, not just say he is. This Clause has been brought about because Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt lost to campaigners who fought for Lewisham Hospital. It's legislation made in spite. Lewisham Hospital was not failing, yet they tried to close departments there. St Helier is not failing, and they are trying to close servives. Clause 118 will stop campaigners winning battles for their health services as they did in Lewisham- in fact, we won't even be permitted to fight for them. They'll just be closed at the whim of bureaucrats. Mr Brake- put people before position, and constituents before Conservatives- back us and oppose Clause 118.[/p][/quote]Spot on Mikki R, I think deliberately being naive is the position. Michael Pantlin
  • Score: 8

1:19pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Michael Pantlin says...

Niki R wrote:
Messrs Brake and Burstow either do not understand the Clause, the risks or the threat to St Helier, or they are deliberately being naive. Mr Brake needs to step up and REALLY fight to save St Helier, not just say he is. This Clause has been brought about because Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt lost to campaigners who fought for Lewisham Hospital. It's legislation made in spite. Lewisham Hospital was not failing, yet they tried to close departments there. St Helier is not failing, and they are trying to close servives. Clause 118 will stop campaigners winning battles for their health services as they did in Lewisham- in fact, we won't even be permitted to fight for them. They'll just be closed at the whim of bureaucrats. Mr Brake- put people before position, and constituents before Conservatives- back us and oppose Clause 118.
Spot on Nikki R. I believe being deliberately naive is the case as with the Gagging Law.
[quote][p][bold]Niki R[/bold] wrote: Messrs Brake and Burstow either do not understand the Clause, the risks or the threat to St Helier, or they are deliberately being naive. Mr Brake needs to step up and REALLY fight to save St Helier, not just say he is. This Clause has been brought about because Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt lost to campaigners who fought for Lewisham Hospital. It's legislation made in spite. Lewisham Hospital was not failing, yet they tried to close departments there. St Helier is not failing, and they are trying to close servives. Clause 118 will stop campaigners winning battles for their health services as they did in Lewisham- in fact, we won't even be permitted to fight for them. They'll just be closed at the whim of bureaucrats. Mr Brake- put people before position, and constituents before Conservatives- back us and oppose Clause 118.[/p][/quote]Spot on Nikki R. I believe being deliberately naive is the case as with the Gagging Law. Michael Pantlin
  • Score: 6

1:23pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Michael Pantlin says...

Hove Ex-Pat wrote:
Not only have the Liberal two stitched up their constituents, but the conservative MP where I live, Epsom, has been just as ineffective with regards to the Epsom part of the group. I don't think there is much chance of getting Grayling out next year, but I'm sure those terrible two in Sutton & Carshalton are not so secure. So vote them out, just for me, & a few hundred thousand others.
Just had a "sneak preview" from the Sneak himself Nick Clegg that he will be clogging the TV this evening with his party political IIN OR out pitch. I've made up my mind the Sneak must be put OUT..
[quote][p][bold]Hove Ex-Pat[/bold] wrote: Not only have the Liberal two stitched up their constituents, but the conservative MP where I live, Epsom, has been just as ineffective with regards to the Epsom part of the group. I don't think there is much chance of getting Grayling out next year, but I'm sure those terrible two in Sutton & Carshalton are not so secure. So vote them out, just for me, & a few hundred thousand others.[/p][/quote]Just had a "sneak preview" from the Sneak himself Nick Clegg that he will be clogging the TV this evening with his party political IIN OR out pitch. I've made up my mind the Sneak must be put OUT.. Michael Pantlin
  • Score: 6

1:38pm Wed 5 Feb 14

LiberalsOut says...

I am all for some Lib Dem bashing as often as possible, but let us not forget that it was David Cameron who invited them into coalition.
Since then all they have done is throw their toys out of the pram and they will do the same whoever does not get a majority in 2015
That said Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are desperate to keep a Lib Dem Council, and save their own skins in 2015
I refer to Paul Burstows self congratulatory magazine that dropped through my letterbox the other evening
I could never vote Labour but it is the Mitcham MP who seems to know what is going on
I am all for some Lib Dem bashing as often as possible, but let us not forget that it was David Cameron who invited them into coalition. Since then all they have done is throw their toys out of the pram and they will do the same whoever does not get a majority in 2015 That said Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are desperate to keep a Lib Dem Council, and save their own skins in 2015 I refer to Paul Burstows self congratulatory magazine that dropped through my letterbox the other evening I could never vote Labour but it is the Mitcham MP who seems to know what is going on LiberalsOut
  • Score: 2

2:38pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Sameer the First says...

Forty_two wrote:
Sameer, Andrew Lansley did not make changes while "under Labour". The privatisation was NOT started under Labour, it was started under the John Major government. I understand that the concept of CCGs was put in place by John Redwood. Interesting you should mention the issue of stroke treatment centralisation. This very issue is one trumpeted by BSBV, but if you look closely, you'll find that one such "Stroke Centre" is Charing Cross hospital, which is under threat of closure. I take your point that none of the big three political parties is entirely free from blame, but what this conservative led coalition has done, with the able help of their LieDem lapdogs has done is to pour petrol onto the fire. Right now, only the Labour party has pledged to repeal the H&SC bill (with the possible exception of the NHA party).
I think you are right about repealing the Act and I think that would be good news, though I don't think they will repeal it chapter and verse, just the bits about private sector involvement.

My point is that the Act is not what led to services being reorganised, or reconfigured in NHS wording. It doesn't say anything about centralising services in fewer hospitals, it is all about scrapping primary care trusts and health authorities and allowing more use of the private sector. The reconfigurations started under the Labour government and Lansley halted a few when he first came to power. We should be proud of what Labour did for London stroke services as it clearly worked.

Not sure what to think about closing one of the stroke units. I assume the acute stroke centre at Charing Cross will move elsewhere (St Mary's is only just up the road) , as those changes have shown that as long as the services are available and central enough, more people are saved. From what i've read of the changes in north west London, they were proposed locally rather than by Hunt.

None of this detracts from the Act being a disaster for the NHS of course, but the disaster is letting the private sector in and wasting money on redundancies and restructures. The Act says nothing of import about centralising services and the big drive to save money in the NHS started under Labour. I don't think a Labour government woulkd mean an end to reorganising services and nor should it IMHO. I honestly don't think a lot of current services are as good as they should be.
[quote][p][bold]Forty_two[/bold] wrote: Sameer, Andrew Lansley did not make changes while "under Labour". The privatisation was NOT started under Labour, it was started under the John Major government. I understand that the concept of CCGs was put in place by John Redwood. Interesting you should mention the issue of stroke treatment centralisation. This very issue is one trumpeted by BSBV, but if you look closely, you'll find that one such "Stroke Centre" is Charing Cross hospital, which is under threat of closure. I take your point that none of the big three political parties is entirely free from blame, but what this conservative led coalition has done, with the able help of their LieDem lapdogs has done is to pour petrol onto the fire. Right now, only the Labour party has pledged to repeal the H&SC bill (with the possible exception of the NHA party).[/p][/quote]I think you are right about repealing the Act and I think that would be good news, though I don't think they will repeal it chapter and verse, just the bits about private sector involvement. My point is that the Act is not what led to services being reorganised, or reconfigured in NHS wording. It doesn't say anything about centralising services in fewer hospitals, it is all about scrapping primary care trusts and health authorities and allowing more use of the private sector. The reconfigurations started under the Labour government and Lansley halted a few when he first came to power. We should be proud of what Labour did for London stroke services as it clearly worked. Not sure what to think about closing one of the stroke units. I assume the acute stroke centre at Charing Cross will move elsewhere (St Mary's is only just up the road) , as those changes have shown that as long as the services are available and central enough, more people are saved. From what i've read of the changes in north west London, they were proposed locally rather than by Hunt. None of this detracts from the Act being a disaster for the NHS of course, but the disaster is letting the private sector in and wasting money on redundancies and restructures. The Act says nothing of import about centralising services and the big drive to save money in the NHS started under Labour. I don't think a Labour government woulkd mean an end to reorganising services and nor should it IMHO. I honestly don't think a lot of current services are as good as they should be. Sameer the First
  • Score: 1

3:31pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Danny Bhoy says...

Agree with Sameer that services need to be reorganised. As a member of the public I get pretty frustrated by the siren voices against any change to any hospital being seen as speaking for all of us. All the evidence suggests we do need to change things and that doing so with stroke and trauma saved lots of lives. Loudmouth MPs and people on Twitter don't speak for everyone. If doctors put their case to the population as a whole, and not just those who yell at them, they will find that plenty of us recognise things can't go on as they are. In fairness I probably hold this view because a relative benefitted from the changes to stroke services, but it did open my eyes as to how nearest is not always safest.
Agree with Sameer that services need to be reorganised. As a member of the public I get pretty frustrated by the siren voices against any change to any hospital being seen as speaking for all of us. All the evidence suggests we do need to change things and that doing so with stroke and trauma saved lots of lives. Loudmouth MPs and people on Twitter don't speak for everyone. If doctors put their case to the population as a whole, and not just those who yell at them, they will find that plenty of us recognise things can't go on as they are. In fairness I probably hold this view because a relative benefitted from the changes to stroke services, but it did open my eyes as to how nearest is not always safest. Danny Bhoy
  • Score: -2

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