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TSA powers increased after MP vote


12 March 2014

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Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is to take on powers to allow him to shut down local hospitals even if they are performing well. 
Clause 119 will allow a hospital to be closed or downgraded if a neighbouring trust is having financial problems. 
In October 2013, the High Court ruled that Hunt had worked outside his authority in closing units at Lewisham hospital to save a neighbouring trust. 

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is to take on powers to allow him to shut down local hospitals even if they are performing well. 
Clause 119 will allow a hospital to be closed or downgraded if a neighbouring trust is having financial problems. 
In October 2013, the High Court ruled that Hunt had worked outside his authority in closing units at Lewisham hospital to save a neighbouring trust. 
The power was added to give trust special administrators (TSAs) the power to shut or downgrade any hospital or A&E department with 40 days’ notice.  However, the TSA will have to consult the public, commissioners and staff. 
A total of 297 MPs voted in favour of the clause, and 239 voted against it. 
A Department of Health spokesperson told the BBC that the clause would only ever be used as a "last resort".
"Changes to the special administrator regime will ensure that patients get safe care, and these powers have only ever been used in extremis twice since 2009.
"It is a process of last resort, when a hospital trust faces very serious financial or quality risks," the spokesman said.
Andy Burnham, the shadow Health Secretary, compared Hunt to a burglar “changing the law to get his way”.

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