Care Bill [Lords]

Written evidence submitted by Prof Ian Judson (CB 23)

Dear Sirs

As a senior health professional I am writing to express my disapproval of Clause 118 in the Care Bill. This would permit the Secretary of State for Health to override local decisions regarding hospital closures or department downgrading. Before this government came into power we were promised "no more top down reorganisation" instead of which we have the Health and Social Care Bill which has effectively destroyed the NHS as it was and introduced wholesale privatization. We now see the government wishing to be able to ignore local considerations regarding the configuration of services. I think this wrong-headed and dangerous. Acute services, as we all recognize, are under severe stress and the main message of the Francis report, which is that if economic considerations are allowed to predominate the outcome is likely to be poor care, especially if staff numbers are too low.

We have now suffered many years of "efficiency savings" which is the accepted jargon for fewer staff doing more work and while we have to acknowledge the difficult financial circumstances we are facing at the moment, it cannot be right to give the Health Secretary carte blanche to make unilateral decisions in this fashion.

January 2014

Prepared 22nd January 2014