Inside track on the health bill summit: PM under fire, Darzi re-emerges and Lansley stays silent
A round-up of the health news in the papers on Tuesday 21 February.
The commotion surrounding Prime Minister David Cameron's No 10 health bill ‘summit' dominates the health headlines today. Pictures of Andrew Lansley's streetside showdown with a veteran health campaigner ahead of the meeting – see the unmissable video here - dominate several front pages, in what could be the embattled health secretary's finest ‘Thick of It' moment.
The PM's move to snub a series of organisations, including the RCGP and BMA, for his ‘summit' comes under fire in The Independent, as opposition leader Ed Miliband accuses Cameron of ‘a bunker mentality'. But The Telegraph attacks Royal Colleges who are fiercely critical of the health bill claiming that they are ‘in reality, trade unions', and have little right to complain noisily about not being invited by the PM. ‘Why should the Government continue trying to reconcile the irreconcilable?', the paper asks.
The Times (paywall) carries some interesting insight as to what happened inside the summit, which GPs will delighted to know was attended by former Labour health minister Lord Ara Darzi. Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of National Voices, told the paper ‘there were some tense moments' during the meeting with Cameron. ‘Andrew Lansley was sitting next to him and didn't say very much – and wasn't invited to say very much,' Taylor said.
Despite holding his selective summit The Guardian reveals that David Cameron has ‘squandered' the Tories lead in the polls as the backlash against the health bill bites. An ICM poll carried out for the paper shows support for the Conservatives has dropped four points as ‘voters turn against the health reforms'.
In non-health bill related news, scientists have found that national guidelines advising people how to lose weight are ‘seriously flawed' reports The Guardian. Researchers found people lost only half as much weight as expected in a year if they followed the advice given by the NHS. The Telegraph picks up on our story from yesterday that health authorities are to be prevented from blacklisting expensive branded drugs under Government plans to stop ‘postcode prescribing'. A new ‘best practice guide' from NICE states that medicines should be incorporated on lists of available drugs within 90 days of approval.