Health unions and Royal Colleges will hold a summit tonight to discuss the government’s controversial reforms of the NHS.
The British Medical Association (BMA), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) are holding a 6pm meeting over their concerns about the Health and Social Care Bill.
On Tuesday, the AoMRC met to discuss their fears and said progress on dealing with their complaints had been slow.
A draft statement obtained by the Guardian following the meeting said: “The Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties of the AoMRC continue to have significant concerns over a number of aspects of the health bill and are disappointed that more progress has not been made in directly addressing the issues we have raised.”
The medical bodies said that “unless the proposals are modified the academy believes that Bill may widen rather than lessen health inequalities and that unnecessary competition will undermine the provision of high quality integrated care to patients.
“The Academy and Medical Royal Colleges are not able to support the Bill as it currently stands.
“The academy is deeply concerned that the upheaval caused by the changes in the Bill will distract the NHS from the huge task of meeting the current financial challenges.”
But several Colleges later appeared to distance themselves from the draft statement. It is understood the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) refused to sign up to calls for the Bill to be withdrawn. Some other Colleges are also thought to be discussing their position following talks with ministers.
The AoMRC issued a fresh statement yesterday saying it had had “extensive discussions with ministers about the detail of our concerns” since the meeting and would issue no further statement at present.
Tonight’s summit comes as pressure continues to mount on ministers over the Bill, currently going through Parliament. There have been concerns at the lack of clinical support for the reforms after the BMA, the RCN and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) announced their outright opposition and called for the Bill to be scrapped.