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PM plays down NHS reform opposition

David Cameron has played down opposition to the Government's troubled health reforms and insisted there was support for the role of competition in the NHS.

The Prime Minister said just 7% of GPs and 2% of physiotherapists had called for the Health and Social Care Bill to be dropped.

Labour leader Ed Miliband told the Tories the Bill was "digging their own burial at the next general election".

Mr Cameron said: "The problem for the Labour Party is they are against both the money that needs to go into the NHS, which they say is irresponsible, and although they supported competition and choice in the past they don't support it any more."

At Prime Minister's questions, Mr Miliband said former NHS chief executive Lord Crisp had described the Bill as "a mess" and "unnecessary" and said it was "setting the NHS back".

Mr Miliband told Mr Cameron: "With every week that goes by, there are yet more damning indictments of your NHS Bill."

The Prime Minister said Mr Miliband "did actually say something last week that I agree with" in acknowledging the NHS "will have to change". But he said Labour refused to commit money to the NHS or back competition and choice.

Mr Miliband also raised the Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group's opposition to the Bill and the bureaucracy it generated. He asked Mr Cameron: "Isn't it time you recognised you have lost the confidence even of the GPs you say want to be at the heart of your reforms?"

The Prime Minister said 8,200 GP practices in England were "implementing the reforms, which is what they want to see happen".

Mr Cameron said former Labour health minister and surgeon Lord Darzi believed "the right competition for the right reasons can drive us to achieve more". In the face of Labour heckling, Mr Cameron said: "They don't want to listen to Labour ministers when they used to win elections."

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