Lansley promises to review health bill after Liberal Democrats oppose reforms

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 15 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1646
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Andrew Lansley, the secretary of state for health, has signalled a willingness to make changes to the Health and Social Care Bill to conciliate rebellious Liberal Democrats.

At their weekend conference Liberal Democrat members rejected their party leadership’s support for Mr Lansley’s reforms of the health service in England. To persuade sceptical Liberal Democrats in parliament to approve the bill, Mr Lansley will now need to make some concessions. The question is whether these will prove substantive or merely cosmetic.

The amendment passed by the party conference makes three major points. It rejects what it sees as a “damaging and unjustified” market based approach in the bill, warns of the risk of private companies “cherry picking” profitable services, and urges that commissioning should be made publicly accountable by requiring “about …

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