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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 3:30 pm on 11th March 2014.

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Photo of Jim Dowd Jim Dowd Labour, Lewisham West and Penge 3:30 pm, 11th March 2014

I agree strongly with the sentiment expressed by Jeremy Lefroy that no community should be subjected to the tender mercies of the trust special administrator regime. It is brutal, harsh, unfair, unreasonable and impervious to local knowledge or opinion.

Following the way in which most reports are presented, I shall start with my executive summary—my understanding of what happened in the South London Healthcare NHS Trust. Sir Tony Baldry was wrong. The special administrator was not appointed to Lewisham hospital. That is the very heart of the matter. He was appointed to the South London Healthcare NHS Trust, which is the adjoining trust, then comprising the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Woolwich, the Princess Royal university hospital in Orpington and Queen Mary’s hospital in Sidcup. He then decided to take a well-functioning, well-respected, well-performing and financially sound institution, in the shape of Lewisham hospital, and use it to deal with problems elsewhere.

In an Adjournment debate 18 months ago when the issue first occurred, I used the simile that it was like the administrator for Comet advising that the best thing to do, in the interests of Comet, was to close down Currys. That is exactly what the trust special administrator did.