30 Jan 2012

Physicians call emergency talks over NHS plans

Health and Social Care Correspondent

The Royal College of Physicians agrees to a request by a group of its members to call an extraordinary general meeting to discuss the NHS bill, writes Victoria Macdonald.

The Royal College of Physicians has agreed to a request by a group of its members to call an extraordinary general meeting to discuss the NHS bill (Getty)

Channel 4 News has learned that the meeting will be held on 27 February and will also discuss a motion to ballot members and fellows on whether to accept or reject the Health and Social Care bill.

The RCP is the latest medical organisation to agree to such a move. Already the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives, have said they oppose the bill outright.

The Faculty of Public Health has also agreed to ask its membership for its views on the reforms and last week the Royal College of Radiologists released a statement saying that given their widespread concerns over ‘many serious and as yet unresolved issues’, they could not support and ‘must continue to oppose’ the passage of the bill.â?¬

The bill, which will see the biggest reform of the NHS since it was founded, is facing growing opposition from within the medical establishment over fears that it will mean privatisation of services.

Channel 4 News special report: The NHS uncovered

It is due to go back to the House of Lords for debate this week and while 200 amendments have been laid down, these are not considered by opponent to offer any real concessions.

Department of Health sources also say that the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is in no way “backing down” and that the amendments are largely legalistic.

The majority of the royal colleges have individual issues with different parts of the bill but have not come out in complete opposition.