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It will come as no surprise that I support the proposal to remove clause 119 from the Bill. Of all reforms in the Bill, this clause has attracted the most attention from my constituents. They recognise it for what it is—a frightening power grab by central Government that will put services across the whole country at risk from the Secretary of State. It is a cynical move from the Government, who in their wildly unpopular top-down reorganisation of our beloved NHS claimed that they wanted to put more power in the hands of doctors. Now they seek to give sweeping new powers to the Secretary of State.
It is of course true that some NHS trusts and foundation trusts find themselves in tough financial situations, and in those difficult situations decisions will have to be made so that services continue to operate. That is what the TSA regime was set up to do, and it is an appropriate process for dealing with the difficulties within a trust. It is true that trusts do not operate in complete isolation, but the TSA is already required to act with the interests of the wider health service in mind.