NHS: What is the Hospital Closure Clause?

What is the Hospital Closure clause?

Health Minister Jeremy Hunt is trying to quickly change the law to make it much easier and faster to close local hospitals and A&Es without any proper consultation of local people. This comes off the back of him losing two court cases after trying to illegally shut down Lewisham Hospital. A clause has been added on to the care bill, which will change the law that was used to stop Jeremy Hunt.

The sweeping new powers granted by the clause mean decisions about local hospital provision could be taken in as little as 40 days, regardless of how well hospitals are performing.  If this becomes law then it means that every hospital could be under threat of closure.

Read more on the clause here.

How urgent is this campaign?

The bill started in the House Of Lords and will have its final vote in the House of Commons in early March. This could be the final chance that MPs have to vote on the bill, so it really is crunch time.

You can visit the Parliament website to see how the bill has passed through the Houses of Parliament

What are the papers saying?

NOTE: The Hospital Closure Clause was previously called clause 118, but has now changed to clause 119

The Guardian: Clause 118 of care bill threatens hospitals with downsizing or closure
Public outcry saved Lewisham hospital, now the government wants to change the law to ensure that it can reconfigure hospital provision as it so desires. … read more

New Statesman: Clause 118 would leave no hospital in England safe
The new regulation would allow Jeremy Hunt to close any hospital or department in Britain and rob the public of their right to protest. … read more

What has happened so far?

38 Degrees member Louise Irvine who is the chair of the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign has started a petition on Campaigns By You, which has already got over 145,000 signatures.

She will be handing in the petition on Thursday 27th February and is asking people to join her at a public rally.

What can I do now?

Spread the word! The more that we can turn this into a big national issue, the more chance we have of pressuring the government to drop this unpopular Hospital closure clause.

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Comment below on what you think. Are you part of a campaign to save your local hospital?