Critical doctors 'locked out' of Downing Street NHS meeting
Prime Minister takes charge of controversial reforms and hosts implementation summit
David Cameron will today signal his determination to press ahead
with health reforms as he stages a Downing Street summit from which
critics of the plans have been excluded.
The Prime Minister, who has taken personal charge of implementing the overhaul, will make clear he believes the preparations for the changes are too advanced to be halted and will argue that patients can already see improvements where preparations have been begun.
Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, has faced renewed calls to scrap the Health and Social Care Bill from organisations representing doctors and nurses, as well as intense speculation he could be reshuffled out of his job.
Liberal Democrat critics will try to raise the issue in an emergency motion to their spring conference next month and disquiet over the reforms has even surfaced around the Cabinet table.
Last night, Government sources said this afternoon's session was designed to examine in detail how the reforms could be rolled out rather than to discuss amending or abandoning them.
Downing Street said the guest list comprised a "range of national healthcare organisations and clinical commissioning groups", thought to include the NHS Confederation and groups of family doctors who back the shake-up.
However, the British Medical Association, the Royal Colleges representing GPs, nursing and midwives and health unions said they had not been invited to the discussion with Mr Cameron and Mr Lansley. Andy Burnham, the shadow Health Secretary, said: "The NHS means too much to too many people for the Government to play this dangerous game of divide and rule.
"People have strong and sincerely-held views about the risks to the NHS from the Government's re-organisation. They deserve a hearing – not to have the door of Downing Street shut in their faces."
Peter Carter, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "We don't know why we haven't been invited but we, like others, find it extraordinary because at the end of the day, it is nurses, doctors, physios, GPs that actually keep the health service going."
Mr Cameron will today insist patients are already seeing improvements where clinical commissioning groups have been established. He will point to evidence that emergency hospital admissions have fallen year-on-year for the first time as family doctors have been more central in shaping patient care.
Mr Lansley said: "We have always been clear patients will benefit from putting power in the hands of frontline doctors and nurses.
"By starting to do just that, we are seeing a positive change in the way our NHS is responding to rising pressures."
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Power of Nepal earthquake was equivalent to 20 huge atomic bombs
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£12 - £14 per hour: Recruitment Genius: We are looking for someone to join a s...
£15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This market leader in Medical Devices is...
£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...