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More scrutiny for Lansley reforms

Embattled Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is facing yet more pressure over his controversial NHS reforms.

Peers are resuming their scrutiny of the legislation amid speculation that the Cabinet minister's job could be on the line.

On Tuesday, Number 10 was forced to deny that the Prime Minister wanted to see Mr Lansley "taken out and shot" for mishandling the shake-up.

The Times attributed the quote to an unnamed "Downing Street source", and even suggested that Labour former health secretary Alan Milburn could be drafted in to take his place.

However, a spokeswoman for the premier insisted he had "full confidence" in Mr Lansley.

"The Prime Minister backs Andrew Lansley and he backs the reforms we are pushing through Parliament in order to deliver a better health service for the future," she said. "As far as we are concerned, the reforms are going to deliver a better NHS, one which will be freer of bureaucracy and have less political interference."

Mr Cameron is said to have reaffirmed his support for the Health and Social Care Bill at a meeting with Mr Lansley and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg earlier this week.

But the legislation is returning to the Lords less than a week after the Royal College of GPs wrote to Mr Cameron calling for it to be scrapped.

A poll of British Medical Journal (BMJ) readers found that more than 90% believe the reforms should be abandoned.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has also demanded the shake-up should be dumped, warning that opponents have just "three months to save the NHS".


From Belfast Telegraph