The Royal College of Nursing and health secretary Andrew Lansley entered a fresh war of words over the health bill this week.
Speaking on BBC 2’s Newsnight programme on Wednesday, Mr Lansley accused RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter of having sat in his office “on more than one occasion” last year and said “we support the bill”.
He claimed the college had withdrawn its support for the bill in January because it was “angry with the government” over other issues such as pay and pensions.
This prompted Mr Carter to issue a statement on Thursday in which he said that “contrary to the secretary of state’s claims” the RCN “never actively supported” the bill.
“We initially welcomed underlying principles behind the bill, however, the proposals will not deliver on those principles originally set out,” he said. “This is not an issue about pay or pensions – it’s about genuine, honestly held concerns about the quality of patient care and where the health service is headed.”