Cameron to renew NHS reform backing
Prime Minister David Cameron will launch a fresh bid to shore up support for NHS reforms this week as a political showdown looms over the controversial package.
Mr Cameron will defend the shake-up in a speech on Tuesday which is reported to include five guarantees about the future of the health service.
The Daily Telegraph said his series of personal pledges would include keeping waiting lists low, maintaining spending and no privatisation.
Others would be ensuring patient care was properly co-ordinated and that it remained universally available and free at the point of delivery, the newspaper said.
He will renew his message that reform is inevitable if the health service is to survive massively rising costs but that ministers are responding to criticisms of the blueprint.
The architect of the plans, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, indicated last week that he was ready to accept "substantial and significant" changes.
NHS reform has become a battleground within the coalition - with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg making it a test of his promise to show a more muscular influence on policy.
The legislation, which would hand over commissioning powers to GPs and extend private sector provision of NHS services, has been "paused" for further consultation.
Conclusions from that process will be given to ministers later this month but Mr Clegg has warned his Liberal Democrat MPs will not approve the Bill unless it is significantly watered down.
Increasing the involvement of the private sector and competition is strongly opposed by many party activists - who voted heavily against the package earlier this year.