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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 5:15 pm on 11th March 2014.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Labour, Hayes and Harlington 5:15 pm, 11th March 2014

I entirely agree. There are still members of the community who, like me, deeply regret the fact that we lost two cottage hospitals in my constituency and another in the constituency of Sir John Randall. We lost a whole network of cottage hospitals. I do not remember who was Secretary of State in the 1980s under the Thatcher Government, but that Secretary of State was obsessed with closing them down, and they were closed down as a result of central diktat rather than listening to people.

As other Members have said, there were consultations, and, in every case, nearly 100% of local people wanted to keep the local cottage hospital. Steve Baker said that we were running a socialist health service. Well, my socialism is grass-roots socialism—community socialism—which means listening to local people and respecting their wishes. Local people often know intuitively what is right, and that is why I am so anxious about any further powers being put in the hands of the Secretary of State.