David Cameron said the government wants to work with the profession not against it, and said the government's ‘listening exercise’ is a ‘genuine chance’ to make a difference.
He said he recognises that there are ‘some big questions’ about the government’s plans for NHS reforms.
He said: ‘I am in politics not to take risks with the NHS, not to threaten the NHS, but to safeguard and improve the NHS.
‘Where there are good suggestions to improve the legislation, those changes will be made. But let me be clear, it is only through modernisation that can we protect the NHS and ensure the country has a truly world-class health service.'
Meanwhile, the health secretary Andrew Lansley said the government’s listening exercise will focus on the role of choice and competition and how a range of healthcare professionals can improve patient care.
He said it will also look at how it can ensure public accountability and patient involvement in the new system, how new arrangements for education and training can support the reforms.
Mr Lansley said: ‘We are taking the opportunity of a natural break in the passage of the Bill to pause, listen, reflect and improve. This will help realise our ultimate goal of modernising the NHS to protect it for the future.’