“Are Health Ministers not listening?”

Liberal Democrat member of the Health Select Committee, Andrew George, asked Health Ministers to drop the Health and social Care Bill in the House of Commons today.

Mr George said, “After all of the debate, the massive opposition is still mounting and the meagre support for the Bill is ebbing away. A more rational process would have resulted in the dignified withdrawal of the Bill long ago. Is there anything that would persuade Health Ministers to change their minds?”

Mr George also criticised the Secretary of State – Andrew Lansley – for not answering the question but leaving it to his Junior Health Minister, Simon Burns. Mr Burns said that there was nothing that would persuade Ministers to change their mind.

After the event in the Commons, Mr George said:

“If Health Ministers aren’t listening then I’m very concerned for the future of the NHS. The Bill has very few friends. The fortunes of the NHS should not be determined by ludicrous virility contests of the Westminster Village. The Secretary of State knows that he either has to face down the opposition, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, GPs, midwives and other health professionals or otherwise he loses face and loses his job. In the political prism of Westminster no other option is possible. A dignified withdrawal is very difficult to achieve at this stage, even though that would be the rational thing to do.

“If Ministers really are saying that there is absolutely nothing that would persuade them to change their minds then I’m very concerned about the future impact of this legislation on our NHS.”

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