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MPs support NHS reform as health bill passes first parliament debate

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 01 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d711
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

Large scale change to the NHS in England came a step closer this week as MPs passed the Health and Social Care Bill in its first debate stage on 31 January.

Planned changes that will see GP commissioning consortiums taking control of most of the NHS budget and the abolition of primary care trusts and strategic health authorities were the subject of an often angry six hour debate in the House of Commons. But the bill was comfortably passed after 321 MPs voted for it and 235 voted against in its second reading.

Unease at the proposed changes among the medical profession continues, however, as shown by a new survey of doctors published by the Royal College of General Practitioners. The results show that 61% of GPs disagree with the general direction of the reforms.

At the start of the parliamentary debate the health secretary for England, Andrew Lansley, said, “While the previous government increased funding for the National Health Service to the European average, it did not act similarly to increase its …

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