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David Cameron in 'trust me' plea on health service

By Andrew Grice

David Cameron will today invite the public to vote against him at the next General Election if he fails to keep his promises to protect the National Health Service.

The Prime Minister will put his reputation on the line as he tries to allay fears that the Government's controversial reforms could lead to the back-door privatisation of the NHS.

In a "trust me" speech in London, he will argue that no change is not an option and would threaten "the precious principle of free healthcare for all who need it, when they need it".

Mr Cameron is trying to bridge a divide between the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, who is demanding changes to the reforms, and the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, who is trying to prevent his plans being changed. Defending the Government's "pause" on the NHS and Social Care Bill, Mr Cameron will say it is worth delaying to get it right.

He will offer five guarantees: that the Government will not endanger universal coverage; will not break up or hinder efficient care; will keep waiting times low; will increase spending on the NHS; and will not "sell-off" the NHS to create an American-style private system, but will ensure competition benefits patients.

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