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Cameron promises changes to NHS plans


David Cameron has promised “proper and substantive” changes to the government’s NHS reforms but insisted his under-fire health secretary was doing an “excellent” job.

Dissent over the radical shake-up saw nurses deliver an unprecedented vote of no confidence in Andrew Lansley last week as he admitted failing to explain his plans properly.

The government has called a “pause” in the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill to listen to concerns about the plans - which have sparked tensions within the Tory-Lib Dem coalition.

Mr Cameron said “key elements” of the changes - such as handing GPs control of budgets and paying hospitals by results - would remain.

“But yes, we are looking at proper and substantive changes because we want to get this right, it is such a precious national asset,” he told the Murnaghan programme on Sky News.

“There will be some real changes, some real improvements but I think it is true to say that just staying where we are, the status quo, is not a realistic option.

“We need to reform the health service because we have got an ageing population, more expensive drugs coming on line, more expensive treatments and if we just stand still I think we’d have real difficulties because we do need some changes.”

Mr Cameron said that as party leader he had been involved in drawing up the blueprint for the NHS from “way back” before coming to power last May.

Asked if Mr Lansley’s job was in jeopardy, he said his colleague had a greater understanding and “passion” for the NHS than any predecessor for two decades.

“I think he is doing an excellent job.

“But as he himself has said, as we’ve all said, it’s much more important to get this right than to stick to your original timetable in every way.”

He went on: “I take absolute responsibility with him for all of the changes we are making.”

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Readers' comments (8)

  • typical tory whitewash

    privatisation of the nhs is what they have always wanted

    they just will not listen and will push this bill through regardless

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  • They will TRY, Anonymous | 18-Apr-2011 10:21 am. Just think though, they have awoken the sleeping dragon of our profession so to speak, and the merest HINT of action from us, the merest HINT that our profession has finally had enough and will go on strike, and we have them on the run already!!!!! They have already back peddled so fast they won't be able to recover! Just imagine what our profession can do if we go on the offensive!

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  • I agree with Mike, but we need to keep the pressure on, and ensure the government know we are mightily p----d off with them.

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  • Exactly, know that the RCN knows that we have voted for strike action if they threaten our increments again, why don't the RCN and UNISON team up and put a vote out for a mass strike for a whole range of issues affecting our profession? Including this one?

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  • Sorry for the typo, read 'now' instead of know!

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  • As a newly qualified nurse of about 6/7 months now, I have already had my fair share of ups but mainly downs. Even to the point of being off sick due to stress! I'm 24 years old for goodness sake!! What other job does that to a young person?

    I just want to know that my last 3 years have not been a waste and that we nurses will get the consideration, inclusion and respect we deserve. I want to one day stand in the numbers and fight the good fight but feel I can only do this if I'm inspired, which is why I really hope and pray that the RCN will stay strong!

    Otherwise I'm going elsewhere.... physiotherapy?

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  • At the weekend David Cameron said the pause in reforms would provide an opportunity for doctors and nurses to get on board with the changes. Interesting choice of words!

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  • Tories = Slytherins

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