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New Clause 6 — Secretary of State’s response to a section 65 regulator’s report on an NHS foundation trust

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 3:15 pm on 11th March 2014.

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Photo of Andy Burnham Andy Burnham Shadow Secretary of State for Health 3:15 pm, 11th March 2014

That is why I say, “Thank God for the people of Lewisham.” The Government may well have got away with it if they had picked on a community that does not know how to fight like my hon. Friend’s community. I say in all seriousness that they did a service for every community that is worried about its hospital services. That fight inspired everybody. He is right that the arrogance is breathtaking.

We have not had a White Paper or an explanation of why the Government have tried to misappropriate these powers. In the absence of information, mistrust is building about the Government’s intentions. Why are they doing this? It seems to many people that they would not be driving these powers through today if they did not have every intention of using them to the full. It will not have escaped people’s attention that financial problems are building in the NHS, with the King’s Fund predicting that more than one in five hospitals will end this year in deficit. The Labour party has today identified 32 communities where there are entrenched financial problems and that could be at risk of imposed change if clause 119 passes.

The Minister must answer a straight question: are any plans being worked up in the Department of Health, NHS England or Monitor to begin an administration process in any of those areas or in any other parts of the country if the clause passes? Jeremy Lefroy made a similar point a moment ago. Indeed, he went further and said that there should not be a further administration process. I hope that the Minister will listen to that point. The House deserves an honest answer to that question today before it can be expected to give its consent.