All of us would hope that the NHS delivers effective, high-quality and efficient care to all. But sadly, there are hospitals in the NHS which do not. Even some that are delivering good care run up debts year-on-year - which then have to be financed by taking money from other parts of the NHS. Whether hospitals have good care and bad finances, bad care and good finances, or bad care and bad finances, patients suffer.
This week, the papers have covered my decision to consult with South London Healthcare NHS Trust on the proposal that they may be put into special measures, or 'trust special administration' in the jargon.
Although the action is specific to a particular hospital trust, the reason for it is part of a comprehensive, national programme of action to tackle the pockets of poor performance that still exist in our NHS.
Rather than continue to sweep problems under the carpet, or hide the deficits with bungs and bailouts as Labour did, I have taken action. In 2010, I launched a programme of work to root out and tackle poor performance in the NHS, wherever it exists. I published information about hospitals on the things which really matter to patients – like mixed-sex accommodation, hospital infections, and the quality of care. I did this not only because it would help patients choose where to be treated but also to hold up a mirror to those hospitals giving poor care.