Opposition is mounting to the “draconian” nature of clause 118 of the Care Bill - "the hospital closure clause".
Campaigners against the clause handed in a petition – over 140,000 signatures – to the Department of Health on Monday 16th, the day of the second reading of the Care Bill in the House of Commons.
An early opposition motion was defeated. But this is just the start of the campaign which will gather momentum in the New Year. The Care Bill now goes to committee stage where it could be amended and then goes back to the Commons where further amendments can be voted on, before the final vote in February.
Speaking in the Commons debate this week, shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said the hospital closure clause was an “affront to democracy” which “paves the way for a new round of financially driven hospital closures” which “should send a shiver through every community”.
Campaigners plan to step up the campaign in January with intensive lobbying of MPs, letter writing and public events to highlight the dangers of this clause. Look out for further updates after the New Year about what you can do locally to help defeat this dangerous legislation.
Anyone can submit evidence to the committee examining the bill - see details here.
Campaigners also continue to collect signatures for the petition and are aiming for quarter of a million signatures – so please forward it to friends and colleagues.
In the meantime, on a festive note, the Lewisham NHS choir single “Bridge Over You” has been doing well having reached number 15 in the independent single charts and no 4 on Amazon download charts but we are still hoping it will get into the Xmas top 10 – it needs lots of downloads this week to do so. With its accompanying video celebrating the caring ethos of the NHS, it would be a tremendous boost for NHS staff morale if this single got into the top 10. All proceeds go to charity including 50% to the MacMillan cancer charity.
Here’s to an enjoyable festive season and continued working together to save our NHS in 2014.
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