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Lansley ‘should be taken out and shot’ and GP health bill-backers turn against reforms

A round-up of the health news in the papers on Tuesday 7 February

Andrew Lansley ‘should be taken out and shot' according to a Downing Street source quoted in the Times (paywall) this morning. ‘He's messed up both the communication and the substance of the policy'.

The Times' political columnist, Rachel Sylvester added that Lansley ‘seems emotionally incapable of showing any understanding of other people's concerns and intellectually unwilling to consider alternative ideas' and called for him to be sacked. With Lansley having lost the support of all the major medical colleges including the RCGP, the three leading health journals and currently receiving a ‘mauling' in the Lords; another insider said Lansley was ‘just a disaster' and ‘we're back to square one'. Apparently it's being mooted in No.10 that former health secretary, Alan Milburn, could be given a peerage and asked to retake the hot seat at the Department of Health.

So who does support Lansley's reforms? Perhaps not the NHS Alliance or the NAPC any longer. In the last 18 months they have been strong defenders of the health bill but now, as reported in the Guardian, doubts are starting to surface. Dr Charles Alessi and Dr Mike Dixon of the NAPC and NHS Alliance respectively are now voicing concerns that CCGs will not necessarily give GPs the control they were promised.

Dr Alessi said he was concerned commissioners would be ‘suffocated not liberated' while Dr Dixon said that most CCGs now see the new board as the greatest threat to their effective functioning.

Away from the health bill, babies who are encouraged to eat their food with their fingers, as opposed to being spoon-fed purees, are less likely to grow up fat according to new research reported in the Mail this morning.

Letting them choose from a selection of fruit and salad cut into strips along with things like bread sticks will get infants used to different textures and choosing from a variety of healthy options, say researchers at Nottingham University. They looked at 92 children who were weaned on such finger foods and compared them with 63 of those who were spoon-fed between the ages of 20 months and six years. The survey found ‘slightly less obesity' among those raised on finger food and a ‘significantly increased liking for carbohydrates'.