By Gareth Iacobucci
Prime Minister David Cameron joined his embattled health secretary Andrew Lansley at a health centre in west London this morning where he met and questioned local GPs charged with driving forward his Government's controversial NHS reforms.
The PM and the secretary of state joined forces to meet and greet GPs at the St Charles' Centre for Health and Wellbeing in north west London, where they staged a round table discussion ahead of the second reading of the health bill today.
The leaders met members of the Kensington and Chelsea PBC group, a second wave pathfinder encompassing 42 local practices that delivers care to 185,000 patients.
Mr Cameron led the discussion by asking GPs how they were planning to take forward the reforms, and how they were coping with the changes in the system.
The Prime Minister's appearance alongside the health secretary served as a public show of solidarity for Mr Lansley - who has faced intense criticism over the reforms - and demonstrated how high the stakes are politically at this crucial juncture for the legislation.
Among the questions he posed to the group were whether shorter waiting times would lead to GPs prescribing less, and how they planned to work collaboratively with secondary care.
The group's chairman Dr Mark Sweeney said their consortium was fortunate enough to have a constructive relationship with their hospital colleagues.
‘I don't think there's any animosity, he said. ‘We work together rather than against each other.'
Mr Cameron also asked the GPs how they planned to make use of the voluntary and private sector in the newly competitive marketplace.
Consortium member Dr Fiona Butler said the reforms provided ‘a really good opportunity' to look at different providers.The Prime Minister's presence shows how high the stakes are with the Government's NHS reforms PM David Cameron Pulse seminar
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