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Saying that a trust is in deficit is not the same as saying that it is heading into administration. It lies within the power of the commissioners and the trust management regime to avoid administration, which everyone in the House agrees is the preferred outcome. Indeed, it is striking that each of the Members from Lewisham and from Staffordshire identified the difficulties that the TSA regime creates and the difficult circumstances that arise when a TSA is appointed. Some Labour Members have suggested that this is a back-door means of driving change without consultation by appointing TSAs to trusts all around the country. If I thought that that was anywhere near to being anybody’s intention, I would oppose clause 119. However, the important point about clause 119 is that if it were the Government’s intention, which I do not remotely believe that it is, they could pursue that policy whichever way the Division goes.
The point about clause 119 is that it raises an extremely narrow question: should the TSA take into consideration only the institution that has been demonstrated historically to be unsustainable, or should the TSA look outside that immediate health economy for solutions that will better serve the needs of patients in that area? It seems to me that we need only pose the question in that precise and, I believe, accurate way for it to be seen to be a rhetorical question.