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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 Daniel Poulter Daniel Poulter The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health 5:15 pm, 11th March 2014

My hon. Friend makes a good point, which has been made by Government Members throughout this debate. Under the previous Government, in particular, many people felt that things were done to them with their local NHS, rather than done in the best interests of local patients. Importantly, decisions were very rarely made with clinical leadership under the previous Government. Proper patient consultation and patient engagement did not take place. I have a list with me of maternity units downgraded under Labour; it is right to say that individual reconfiguration decisions need to be looked at on their merits, but there was a long and tragic history under the previous Government of the public, patients and local clinicians not being properly engaged in the process. That is why our Government have introduced a better process whereby, as my right hon. Friend Mr Burns pointed out, decisions about local health care services under our 2012 Act are led now by clinicians through the clinical commissioning groups. We now have health and wellbeing boards, which is an important step forward in better joining up and integrating the health and care system that we all believe in, and in ensuring that democratically elected local authorities have more oversight of our health and care system. Those are important steps forward and this Government should be proud of them. They indicate that decisions should be made locally for the benefit of local people, and that is how things routinely happen.

The trust special administrator regime is not used lightly; it is used in extremis, which is why it has been used only twice in the past five years.