Clegg claims victory over NHS reforms

A major policy victory claimed by the Lib Dem leader
A major policy victory claimed by the Lib Dem leader

By <a href="">Alex Stevenson</a>
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Nick Clegg will strike a triumphal note when he addresses Liberal Democrat MPs tomorrow, claiming he has won major concessions on NHS reform.

The deputy prime minister will tell his parliamentary party that all the concessions demanded by the coalition's junior party have been accepted by the government.

Ministers are set to reveal their response to the six-week 'listening pause' to the health and social care bill on Tuesday, a day after the NHS Future Forum panel reveals its findings.

Plans to make competition the dominant factor in the NHS have attracted enormous opposition from doctors, nurses and other NHS staff.

"We have achieved all we set out to achieve," he is expected to say. "It's a job well done."

Critics point out that Mr Clegg originally endorsed the proposals, signing the foreword of health secretary Andrew Lansley's white paper which outlined the government's plans.

Conservative backbenchers frustrated with David Cameron's willingness to water down the original plans are likely to be further irritated by Mr Clegg's boasts.

"I think it is important we end up with a bill that retains its fundamental principles," ringleader Nick de Bois told the Sunday Telegraph.

"From what the PM outlined last week I am hopeful we will have that. Andrew Lansley has worked hard to deliver reforms that will secure the long-term future of the NHS and I don't think that the coalition government will jeopardise that goal."

That was not the attitude of a source close to the deputy prime minister, who told the newspaper: "Nick will now be able to present his colleagues with a scorecard and tick off their 13 objectives. We have won."


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