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Doctors criticise NHS reform plans

Doctors have heavily criticised the Government's plans for an overhaul of the NHS but stopped short of rejecting the health bill completely.

Delegates at an emergency meeting said the Health Secretary should withdraw the Health and Social Care Bill, and "halt the proposed top-down reorganisation of the NHS".

They called on Andrew Lansley to "adopt an approach of evolution not revolution regarding any changes to the NHS in England".

And they said the Government must act on criticisms regarding the Bill and accept ministers had "no electoral mandate" for the plans.

Around 400 doctors attended the British Medical Association (BMA) meeting in central London to debate the proposed reforms.

They stopped short of calling on the BMA to "oppose the Bill in its entirety", saying members of the union still needed to be able to negotiate its content.

The vote was split 43% in favour of rejecting the Bill completely, with 54% against, and 3% abstaining.

Instead, medics called on the BMA to keep publicising and opposing the "damaging elements of the Bill".

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said opposing the Bill in its entirety would have sent "the wrong message" and would have tied the BMA's hands.

Doctors also rejected a motion saying they had "no confidence" in Mr Lansley, with 39% in favour of a no-confidence vote and 56% against.

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