Ministers reject Cabinet 'concern' with NHS reforms

Ministers have dismissed claims of wavering Cabinet support about the government’s controversial health and social care bill.
Ministers have dismissed claims of wavering Cabinet support about the government’s controversial health and social care bill.

By Oliver Hotham

Ministers have dismissed claims of wavering Cabinet support about the government’s controversial health and social care bill.

The ConservativeHome website had reported that three unnamed members of the Cabinet had expressed concerns about the coalition's NHS reforms.

A critical blogpost from the influential site, which is popular with Tory activists, calling for the prime minister to drop the bill warned that, if the bill were to pass, all subsequent problems with the NHS could be blamed on the government.


Health services minister Simon Burns dismissed the article as "tittle tattle".

"What is far more important is it is quite clear, the prime minister has made it clear that he supports the modernisation programme and that the bill will continue because the NHS needs the legislation in order to be able to modernise to meet the challenges it is facing," he said in an interview on BBC2's Daily Politics.

ConservativeHome's Tim Montgomerie told the BBC: "The consensus seems to be that if the bill really was transformational then perhaps the pain would be worth it.

"But actually most of the things that are necessary for the NHS to improve, for efficiencies to be delivered, could be achieved without the bill."

The Labour party responded to the article by inviting the cabinet members opposed to join their "Drop the Bill" campaign.

The health and social care bill has been controversial from the outset. Repeated efforts by the government to stem opposition have resulted in numerous climbdowns, most recently with the tabling of 136 amendments before the bill’s report stage in the Lords earlier this week.

David Cameron continues to face calls to drop the bill and fire Andrew Lansley as health secretary as the opposition’s ‘drop the bill’ campaign gathers momentum.
 

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