Act now to keep our rights to public consultation on hospital closures & to campaign for NHS

Please consider taking action now to stop the Coalition government from pushing through new laws that would further damage the NHS and restrict democratic freedoms. In a few minutes, you can:

  • sign the petition to stop a new law that will make it possible to close hospitals and hospital departments without any public consultation
  • write to your MP asking them to vote against this when the Care Bill comes to the House of Commons on 16th December
  • sign a petition against the Gagging Bill that will make it impossible for groups and Trade Unions to campaign effectively in the run up to elections
  • ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 793, which calls for an immediate freeze on talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement, in order to allow for a full public debate and Parliamentary scrutiny from both Houses of Parliament
Please read on for more info on each of these issues, and for the Halifax and Calder Valley MPs’ contact details.

Care Bill aims to allow hospital and A&E closures without public consultation

The Coalition Government is pushing a Care Bill through Parliament that will make it possible to close hospitals and A &E and other departments without public consultation .

The House Of Lords recently voted to accept Earl Howe’s last-minute amendment to the Care Bill. Amendment 168 essentially makes it possible for hospitals and A&E and other departments to be closed without public consultation – however successful, useful and popular they are.

It’s just been annouced that the hospital closure clause (along with the rest of the Care Bill) will be debated and voted on in the Commons on 16th December so don’t delay – sign the petition and write to your MP today!

There is very little time to act to stop the government making it much easier and quicker to close local hospitals with hardly any consultation. Please act now – there are several things you can do to help protect your local hospitals.

First, you can sign the petition for Hunt to go, and to take the hospital closure clause with him. His attacks on hospitals have gone too far already.

Second, if you have time, please write to your local MP and your local newspaper. The Open Democracy website has a sample letter that you can customise to express your views and feelings.

Louise Irvine, Local GP and Chair of the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign, said:

“This Government are making profound changes to the law on the hoof to enable them to bully through hospital closures in Lewisham and around the country without the need to consult properly and thoroughly.

“The amendment to the Care Bill gives them unlimited powers to destroy any hospital, in any geographical area regardless of how successful it is, or how desperately needed it is by that community.

“It is very dangerous indeed if politicians quite deliberately sweep away the checks, balances and full consultation processes that are needed in current legislation to restructure and reduce health services for the population.”

Gagging Bill will prevent organisations like 38 Degress and Trade Unions from campaiging against government policies in year before elections – unless we stop it

Just in case the law courts continue to overrule Government actions – as happened with the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign, where a judge overturned the Secretary of State’s ruling that Lewisham Hospital should be closed in order to save money that would then be used to repay the Private Finance Initiative debts of a nearby Foundation Trust – the Coalition government is pushing through a Gagging Bill that will prevent organisations from campaigning effectively against government policies in the year before elections.

Please consider signing the 38 Degrees Gagging Bill petition.

EU/US Trade Agreement would make health care a trade issue, not a way of providing for people’s needs – ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 793

The EU/US Trade agreement, currently under negotiation, gives priority to the rights of transational corporations, including global healthcare companies, so health becomes primarily a trade issue. Among other things, it proposes to remove the power of national courts and the judicial system to hear complaints from transnational corporations.

Caroline Lucas MP has tabled  Early Day Motion 793. This calls for an immediate freeze on talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement, in order to allow for a full public debate and Parliamentary scrutiny from both Houses of Parliament with a view to establishing whether full transparency and fundamental EU rights and rules can be guaranteed.

Please consider asking your MP – either Linda Riordan in Halifax, or Craig Whittaker in Calder Valley – to sign EDM 793.

Beyond these firefighting campaigns, it’s clearly important to take stock of the big picture and figure out realistic, effective political objectives to make sure that our NHS survives and thrives for at least another 60 years.

Posted from Hebden Bridge, England, United Kingdom.