Concessions on hospital closures stave off Commons rebellion

Protesters celebrate after the high court ruled government plans over Lewisham hospital were illegal

Protesters celebrate after the higher court ruled that a decision to consist of Lewisham hospital in ideas to dissolve South London Healthcare Believe in was illegal. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Ministers have defused a potential Commons rebellion in excess of future hospital closures by announcing concessions that make it significantly less very likely that a effective hospital will be impacted by a choice to shut a failing one particular close by.

Only six Conservatives and one Liberal Democrat MP voted towards the government in excess of clause 119 of the care bill on Tuesday. However, in the debate a number of coalition MPs voiced disquiet at the power it is made up of to enable a trust special administrator (TSA) employed to type out a failing hospital trust to force via alterations at one more local hospital if they deem it required. That took place when Lewisham hospital in south-east London was integrated in original plans to dissolve debt-ridden South London Healthcare Believe in. The higher court declared the program unlawful.

Dr Dan Poulter, the health minister, mentioned GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) that sent individuals to successful hospitals would have the power to block that hospital getting employed to help fix a issue elsewhere if they disagreed.

The former Lib Dem overall health minister, Paul Burstow, sought to withdraw an amendment he had proposed, which would have neutered clause 119, after becoming reassured by ministers that TSA procedures would only be used in extreme circumstances of a hospital failing. He will chair a committee of MPs and peers to oversee the drafting of new advice above the part of CCGs in this kind of situations.

Labour pushed Burstow’s amendment to a vote anyway, even though the government won the division by 47 votes.

Clause 119 had proved divisive, with MPs such as the Tory Nick de Bois (Enfield North) declaring that he could not support it, and Labour’s Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East) saying “the TSA regime will be utilised as a steamroller to force by means of the closure and downgrade of hospital solutions with restricted public consultation making use of a procedure which is set up in a way that produces public scepticism and mistrust from the word go”.

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