In the end the Government won this vote comfortably despite the reservations of some backbenchers and Liberal Democrats. Less comfortable are likely to be the battles ahead over which departments to close in failing hospitals , or even in some which are quite successful.
Labour has failed in a bid to halt plans the Opposition claimed would hand sweeping powers to ministers to close hospitals.The Government saw off an amendment which would have cut Trust Special Administration from the Care Bill, winning a Commons vote 297 to 239, majority 58.
Speaking earlier in the debate, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham compared Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to a burglar "changing the law to get his way", and warned the Government plans could see an otherwise good hospital closed because of its proximity to a failing one.
MPs will debate a controversial measure that would give ministers the power to close local hospital services in financially failing NHS Trusts.
Labour has said it will vote against the measure, clause 119, when it is debated later this afternoon. Labour whips said on Twitter that the debate is due to take place at 3pm, and the vote will take place at 6pm.
For those asking when #clause119 will be debated - expect debate to start about 3pm with vote/s at 6pm - will provide usual full analysis
Labour's attempts to block clause 119 of the care bill, which would give ministers greater power to close down hospitals, is "irresponsible scaremongering of the worst kind".
A Conservative Party spokesman said:
– A Conservative Party spokesman
These claims from Andy Burnham are irresponsible scaremongering of the worst kind - changes to the special administrator regime will simply ensure that patients get safe care, and these powers have only ever been used in extremis twice since 2009, when Labour introduced them in the first place.
This Government is determined to turn round failing hospitals, unlike the Opposition, which didn't confront the sort of under performance and failure we tragically saw at Mid Staffs.
Some of the trusts Labour believe would be put "at risk" by clause 119 of the care bill are:
- United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
- Barts Health NHS Trust
- Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
- East Cheshire NHS Trust
- Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust
- University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust
- University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
- Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Bolton NHS Foundation Trust
- Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Labour has accused the Government of neglecting the NHS' first responsibility to clinical care and instead, having a financial focus when making changes to hospitals.
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said:
– Andy Burnham
Jeremy Hunt wants to ride roughshod over local communities and have carte blanche to break up the NHS without anyone else having a say.
With more and more hospitals in financial difficulty, this move could hit every community in the land and leave them voiceless in the face of changes to their services.
Labour is clear: changes to hospitals should be driven by clinical, not financial, reasons with local people involved every step of the way.
That is why we believe these plans are dangerous and wrong. It is time for Parliament to stop an arrogant Secretary of State from overstepping the mark.
Labour is appealing for Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs to help block measures it says will give ministers sweeping powers to close hospitals.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said clause 119 of the Care Bill - due to be debated in the Commons today - would allow Jeremy Hunt to "ride roughshod" over local residents' concerns.