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OPINION

Media Watch: Lansley listens while Tories tell

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Despite embarking on a “listening exercise” to hear concerns about the reforms, the health secretary tried his best to avoid confrontation with nurses last week, the Independent reported.

The Royal College of Nursing was angered that the government only planned to send junior minister Anne Milton to its congress this week. Despite Ms Milton being a former nurse, the college saw it as a snub, especially as last year they were graced by both Mr Lansley, David Cameron and the then prime minister Gordon Brown.

As a columnist from The Indy suggested, “maybe he [Lansley] was worried about being heckled”.

But with U-turns all the rage, it was announced that Mr Lansley would be there for an intimate-sounding “listening seminar”.

The government is also doing a lot of “telling” in its efforts to sell the Health Bill.

Mr Cameron claimed there were “3,000 fewer managers and 2,500 more doctors in place” since the Tories took over. But the RCN made a nuisance of itself once again with a report, covered in the Telegraph and elsewhere, claiming that half of the job losses across the NHS will affect clinical staff.

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times provided more evidence of the government’s failure to communicate the “modernisation” of the NHS. The poll found only 27 per cent of people support the NHS reforms, while 52 per cent oppose them. Even then the majority of Conservative voters thought the plans should be changed to address people’s concerns.

Worst of all, only 3 per cent of independents said the plans should stay as they are and only 17 per cent trusted Mr Lansley with the health service.

A less obvious news story was: “Overweight children develop bigger skeletons in order to carry their extra weight.” The research, about the link between childhood obesity and osteoporosis, was published exclusively in the Independent on Sunday.

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