Health secretary will “pause” and listen to staff over reform bill

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 05 April 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2216
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

The government has promised to pause and listen to objections to its NHS reform bill. In a statement to the House of Commons the health secretary for England, Andrew Lansley, conceded that some of the concerns raised about the bill are genuine and said that he wanted to “listen to, engage with, and learn from experts, patients, and frontline staff within the NHS and beyond and to respond accordingly.”

The bill has passed the committee stage in the Commons, so being forced to acknowledge flaws at this stage is embarrassing. The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, called the reforms “extremely dangerous” in exchanges with the prime minister in the Commons but struck a different note in a speech at the Royal Society of Arts, where he promised to enter the debate with an open mind “if there is a genuine attempt to address weaknesses of Tory reorganisation …

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