No pause button on NHS reforms
Downing Street has insisted it is pushing ahead with controversial NHS reforms despite speculation over another coalition U-turn.
David Cameron is due to launch a "listening exercise" this week in a bid to reassure critics of the radical shake-up which will see GPs take control of commissioning services.
But Government sources denied the move heralded any fundamental concessions, or that ministers were pressing the pause button on the legislation.
A Downing Street spokesman said: "The Government is utterly committed to the NHS and its principles. We are also committed to modernising the NHS. Progress on the ground continues to be impressive.
"The speculation is ill-informed and filled with inaccuracies. The Bill has now successfully finished committee stage in the Commons and there is a natural break before it moves to the Lords.
"We have always been prepared to listen, having already clarified that there is no question of privatisation and that competition will be based on quality, and will continue to do so."
Concerns have been growing of a public backlash against the flagship Health & Social Care Bill, with doctors' groups among those criticising key elements.
The Liberal Democrat leadership is also struggling to appease the party's grass roots, who overwhelmingly voted to reject the plans at spring conference last month.
The Prime Minister will share a platform with his Lib Dem deputy Nick Clegg and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to announce the latest consultation. They are expected to propose a series of public meetings for ministers to try to explain the proposals, and reassure people worried about privatisation "by the back door" and a lack of accountability.
However, shadow health secretary John Healy said the coalition should have built on the reforms Labour had put in place, rather than trying to make a "big break" with the past.