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Cameron backs Lansley as Gerada comes under fire

A round-up of the health news in the papers on Wednesday 8 February

The NHS reforms grace the cover of both the Independent and the Times this morning. The Times (paywall) reports that David Cameron will ‘set himself against most of the medical profession today' as he vows to ‘push through' the Health and Social Care Bill against ‘mounting public and professional hostility'. He is apparently keen to end speculation that the Government will drop the bill and aims instead to accelerate it onto the statute books ‘within weeks'.

The Independent adds that the Government is in a ‘last-ditch fight to save Lansley's health reforms' and is in final talks with rebel peers ahead of the Lords debate this week.  They're hoping to head off a series of rebellions which could yet derail the bill.

The paper reports that Labour is tabling a series of amendments designed to win over the support of the Lib Dems who still have concerns about the amount of competition the bill will impose on the NHS. Inside No.10, it says David Cameron is trying his best to distance himself from the health secretary and officials fear that, if the health bill is eventually passed, they will have handed Labour an ‘open goal' for years to come with any cock-ups in the NHS able to be blamed on the reforms.

In a separate article, the Independent aims its sights on Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the RCGP. They report that Dr Gerada has ‘a financial interest in a partnership of GPs that could lose out if private providers are given greater freedom to compete with doctors offering NHS services', and therefore has ‘a lot to lose' if the health bill is passed.

The article is referring to Dr Gerada's role as one of four partners in the Hurley Group – ‘a rapidly expanding chain of London GP surgeries and clinics that now has 13 practices, 250 employees and provides a host of NHS services across the capital'.

The paper says ‘senior Government sources' have been pointing out the irony of Ms Gerada's position, while 'some of her colleagues within the Royal College have also questioned whether she is ‘practising what she preaches' against competition - but are reluctant to criticise her openly'. The Independent then takes a quote by Dr David Wheeler, a GP in Greenwich, from Pulse last November when he said: ‘It's a paradox that the chair of the college is all for collaboration and federating, but is also a partner at the Hurley Group'.

Finally, shocking news in itself, the Daily Mail doesn't contain a single story about something which causes/cures cancer/obesity, if this is the start of a trend then it's worrying news for this digest.