Paul Burstow MP writes…Government makes concessions on Care Bill

nhs sign lrgOver the last week I have been working with 38 degrees who ran a strong campaign raising concerns about a key clause in the Care Bill that made changes to the way in which a hospital in serious financial or clinical trouble would be handled in the NHS.

Trust special administration (TSA) as it is known, was introduced by Labour in 2009.  It is a blunt process that should only ever be used in exceptional circumstances of financial or clinical failure.  The principle was welcome, but when I looked closely, I felt the execution left unintended gaps in local accountability and a democratic deficit, and that’s why I took up the issue.

For me the starting point must be that decisions about the future of local health services are grounded in clinical evidence, supported by local clinicians, and drawn up with the active involvement of local people.

In the last few days, with the support of emails from 38 Degree members to MPs and the 159,000 petition signatures they collected, the Government has made important changes and concessions to strengthen democracy within the TSA process and give local people and local commissioners a more influential voice.  The amendment played a vital part in getting Ministers’ attention and I am pleased to have spearheaded it.

I was also pleased to hear Ministers yesterday give Parliament the assurance that everything possible will be done to help any potentially failing hospital to sort out their difficulties so that a TSA is only ever used in rare and extreme circumstances.

Following my lobbying, Ministers have amended the Bill to strengthen public and patient involvement by the inclusion of local Healthwatch.  In addition, local councils are being added for the first time too.  In the Lewisham case the local Council played a vital role in standing up for local people.

Also as a result of the changes we have secured TSAs will now have to consult with NHS Trusts and their staff, as well as with commissioners (CCGs) of any affected NHS organisations.  And as a result of the amendment Ministers have conceded that equal weight must be given to views of each involved Trust, staff and commissioners.  Finally the Minister confirmed in response to my amendment that any TSA plan must have the agreement of ALL relevant commissioners.

When it came to pushing the amendment to the vote I had to make a fine judgement.  Having secured important changes and commitments from the Government I took the view that pushing the amendment to a vote ran the risk of defeat and sacrificing what the Government had offered.

That is not the end of the matter.  A cross party committee of MPs and Peers will be set up to agree the guidance to TSAs.  I will be chairing that Committee – unpaid – and I will continue to engage with members as we draw up the rules to make sure the views of local clinicians and local people are heard loud and clear.

* Paul Burstow is Liberal Democrat candidate for Sutton and Cheam and was the MP until the dissolution of Parliament on 30th March.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

15 Comments

  • Alisdair McGregor 12th Mar '14 - 6:24pm

    Thank you Paul, you’ve done us all proud by using the power of Parliamentary Backbenchers to alter government legislation.

    Not that you’ll be able to get Labour to admit it, ofc.

  • Julian Dean 12th Mar '14 - 7:28pm

    Oh dear, the spin doctor and his disciples have arrived.

    Its just another step closer to the end of the NHS we know and love, its what the tories have always wanted and the LDP have enabled them every step of the way.

    Well done Paul indeed.

  • So now Hunt can finally close down Lewisham. Well done Paul. You almost convinced people that the Lib Dems and Tories were seperate parties for a while. Until the vote, of course.

  • Judas!

  • Chris Manners 12th Mar '14 - 9:18pm

    “Trust special administration (TSA) as it is known, was introduced by Labour in 2009. It is a blunt process that should only ever be used in exceptional circumstances of financial or clinical failure. The principle was welcome, but when I looked closely, I felt the execution left unintended gaps in local accountability and a democratic deficit, and that’s why I took up the issue.”

    And yet, unintended gaps and all, the policy still stopped Hunt closing Lewisham.

    You’re seriously saying that your new policy has stopped it being closed?

  • Chris Manners 12th Mar '14 - 9:21pm

    Paul, I note you looked closely at the power of the TSAs.

    Did you have time to look closely at the Coalition Agreement?

  • Leviticus18_23 12th Mar '14 - 11:18pm

    I bet the private medical companies and private health insurance companies are delighted with this.

    This wasn’t a good thing. I’m so disappointed…

  • Stephen Donnelly 12th Mar '14 - 11:25pm

    Paul says “Also as a result of the changes we have secured TSAs will now have to consult with NHS Trusts and their staff, as well as with commissioners (CCGs) of any affected NHS organisations.”

    The problem with this is that several groups are excluded. First and foremost, the patients, but in the post Lansley NHS other groups such as hospital doctors are being marginalised, undermining the need for decision to be based on clinical need. The regional health authorities have been abolished at a time that decisions need to be made on a regional basis. GPs have been given too much power, and there are not enough safeguards against conflicts of interest. Centralised commissioning decision are being made at pace by new bodies staffed by (over?)eager, but inexperienced teams.

    When the ‘bedroom tax’ has been watered down, and the changes to student loans have been accepted, the major changes that we supported in the NHS, without public consent, will be seen as the biggest embarassement of our participation in the coalition. It will haunt us for years to come.

  • Jenny Barnes 13th Mar '14 - 9:10am

    We’re consulting…
    We’re consulting…
    We’re consulting…
    We’ve finished consulting, now we’ll close the hospital as we planned at the beginning of the consultation.

  • Presumably, Joe Otten, you also expect knee-jerk conservatism from local people and groups, and would therefore discourage their involvement?

  • Nick Collins 13th Mar '14 - 2:26pm

    How ironic it seems that when Hunt was a PPC, in the run-up to the 2005 election, he was in competition with his LibDem opponent to be perceived as ” leading” the campaign to save a local hospital.

  • Thanks for all your work on this Paul and I understand from a realpolitik point of view why you did what you did in dropping the amendment. I also accept that there is the cross party committee to report in the future which you are to chair.
    However.
    There are two problems.
    First was the issue itself, best illustrated by Jenny Barnes – I can see her scenario as being the real end result – with no firm legal backing consultation will just be window dressing. Second this has gone from a PR win to a PR disaster (rather like tuition fees). We have gone from hero to villain in one easy step.
    I was heavily involved in the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign with my colleagues in Greenwich and Lewisham Lib Dems. Ahead of the local elections we need this like a hole in the head. http://853blog.com/2014/03/12/lib-dems-endanger-lewisham-hospital-and-themselves/

  • I’m wondering how a comment like ‘Judas!’ fits with your comments policy …

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Michael BG
    Peter Martin, Thank you. I attended Lancaster University and so lived in both constituencies. With a majority of only 1265 and only gaining the seat in 20...
  • Jeff
    [Dominic Cummings] claim that PM Boris Johnson never had any intention of honouring the Northern Ireland Protocol he negotiated has—in the light of subsequ...
  • Nigel Quinton
    Katharine, with the greatest respect I don't think that this motion comes close to delivering the narrative we need. And the amendment calling for a candidate i...
  • Jeff
    But against that is the fact that production by the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom is down because of Covid-19… ‘Gazprom ramps up gas production and...
  • Jeff
    The Our World in Data link above was broken by Wordpress. Just copy and paste the whole thing into your browser. I don't use link shorteners as they hide the de...