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Public health doctors call for health bill to be scrapped

Health secretary Andrew Lansley is facing a fresh revolt from the medical profession over his health reforms after 300 public health experts called for the health bill to be scrapped.

In an open letter to peers, published in today's Daily Telegraph, over 300 public health experts call on the health bill to be withdrawn. The doctors warn that the reforms will ‘erode the NHS's ethical foundations', damage patient care and undermine trust in the medical profession.

The letter states: ‘It is our professional judgement that the Health and Social Care Bill will erode the NHS's ethical and co-operative foundations and that it will not deliver efficiency, quality, fairness or choice.'

'We therefore request that you reject passage of the Health and Social Care Bill.'

Dr Hamish Meldrum, the BMA chair and a GP in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, said the letter demonstrated that ‘doctors have major concerns about the bill.'

‘Accelerating the process of marketisation poses huge risks to the NHS, threatening its ability to operate effectively and equitably,' Dr Meldrum said.

‘Insufficient thought has been given to the long term consequences  for medical education and training, public health and the patient-doctor relationship.  

‘Ideally, we'd like to see the legislation withdrawn entirely. Failing that it needs to be significantly amended.'

Mr Lansley is expected to launch a defence of the reforms in his speech to Conservative Party Conference later today.

Click here to read and download the letter.