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Lansley presses on with reform

Andrew Lansley stood by his ambitious white paper plans in his speech yesterday to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

Mr Lansley told the conference: ‘We are pressing forward the health and social care reforms our country needs with real purpose and pace.' He went on to cite Labour taking three years to publish the NHS plan following the 1997 election, and described it as ' a government which picked up the baton of reform but dropped it as soon as it got hot.'

His comments came as the BMA joined the list of those asking for PCTs to be spared while the King's Fund today said the reforms were too swift.

Professor Chris Ham, Chief Executive of The King's Fund said: 'There are areas where NHS performance needs to improve and we support many of the proposals in the White Paper. But we question the need to embark on such a fundamental reorganisation as the NHS faces up to the biggest financial challenge in its history.

I hope ministers will think again about the plans for implementing these proposals. This does not mean putting the brakes on across the board. In some areas, they could in fact move more quickly by beginning to test out and evaluate how key elements of the reforms will work in practice.'