A senior health professional faces disciplinary action after signing a letter to i's sister paper, The Independent, opposing the NHS reforms and provoking accusations yesterday that ministers are presiding over a "top-down bullying policy" designed to silence critics.
The medic, who has not been named, has been summoned to a meeting with the chief executive of his trust to explain himself, MPs were told yesterday.
i can also disclose that the Lib Dems are confident of winning further concessions within days to provisions in the troubled Health and Social Care Bill to increase competition. Evidence of heavy-handed tactics by NHS managers over criticism of the reform emerged after 23 clinicians sent the letter warning that the shake-up will "cause more harm than good".
One signatory has had a letter from the director of an NHS Trust which reads: "It is inappropriate for individuals to raise personal concerns about the government reforms.
"You are therefore required to attend a meeting with the chief executive for the actions you have recently taken."
Raising the "sinister" case in the Commons, Andy Burnham, the shadow Health Secretary, said: "It is, it would seem, your new top-down bullying policy and it is happening right across the NHS. The truth about your mismanagement of the NHS is coming out – staff bullied into silence and professionals frozen out." Mr Lansley, left, replied that he did not know about the letter and accused Mr Burnham of resorting to abuse.
More Coalition strains emerged as senior Lib Dem sources claimed the Prime Minister would authorise new concessions to the Bill in the Lords next week. They are pressing for it to enshrine more explicitly that competition is based on quality rather than price.Reuse content