Health Bill awaited as criticism of NHS reforms mounts

The government's Health Bill, setting out the detail of its plans for the NHS, is due to be published today, amid concern the NHS in England will be destabilised by the reforms.

Mr Lansley is to set out White Paper proposals in a legislative framework for debate
Mr Lansley is to set out White Paper proposals in a legislative framework for debate

Health secretary Andrew Lansley will introduce the Health Bill later today while journalists will have access to copies from around 2pm.

The document will set out Mr Lansley's White Paper proposals in a legislative framework for debate in the House of Commons.

Criticism of the reform has grown in recent days, with Prime Minister David Cameron forced to defend the plans on radio and at a speech in London.

Dr Paul Charlson, chairman of the Conservative Medical Society, said the bill is likely to provide a 'nuts and bolts framework' to clarify the rules governing competition law, contracting, and how GPs commission primary care services from themselves.

'The other aspects like how GP consortia organise themselves will not have a definitive set of rules,' he said. 'That will be more organic.'

report by the all-party Health Select Committee published this week said uncertainty around the reforms had already created additional costs and led to poor decision-making in the NHS.

The NHS Confederation continued to warn of 'huge risks' and the BMA, the RCGP and public-sector unions repeated calls to rethink aspects of the policy.

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