PM in NHS plea to voluntary groups
David Cameron has urged voluntary health organisations to help the Government reassure people that controversial NHS reforms are "not about privatisation".
The Prime Minister held a round-table session with representatives from health charities at Downing Street as part of the coalition's "listening exercise" on the NHS reforms.
He was joined by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, who later travelled to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) conference in Liverpool.
Mr Cameron praised the organisations, which included Asthma UK, WhizzKidz, Mencap and Marie Curie, as doing "incredible things".
He said: "I think there is a fear out there that any reform or change is somehow privatisation - it isn't. It's absolutely not what we're talking about, it's about making sure there's good provision giving people what they need.
"And I think your organisations, which are hugely trusted and understood by the public and by the users of your organisations, can help us to make the argument that change, that choice, that diversity, is not about privatisation, it's about actually improving healthcare."
Mr Cameron insisted that the Government wanted to see a "continued and greater involvement" of the voluntary and charitable sectors in the NHS.
He said: "We do need to make changes to our healthcare system in order to meet the challenges of the future, the ageing population, the cost of drugs, the greater aspirations that people have for quality in healthcare.
"And really, the point of this pause to reflect and improve (and) take our healthcare reforms and see how we can improve them, and see how we can build a stronger coalition behind them, is to listen again to you - all over again - to hear your thoughts about how we can make that happen."
The Government has come under attack over the Health and Social Care Bill and is now using a "pause" in the passage of the legislation to listen to concerns.