Representatives from the main royal medical colleges have met shadow health secretary Andy Burnham to discuss the possibility of a issuing a joint call for the Health Bill to be dropped.

HSJ understands no agreement was reached during Wednesday’s meeting.

The news comes after Mr Burnham called a similar meeting in December.

One attendee told HSJ that while many believed there was an “inevitability” about the bill’s passage, that was not necessarily the case.

“We are in a difficult position because we can’t be party political,” the attendee said. “[But] my view is that as professional leaders, while we have to think about what is happening it’s also our job to point out the problems.”

Another said their organisation had ”significant concerns” about the bill but were not yet prepared to sign up to a combined statement.

But a third attendee told HSJ their organisation’s opposition to the bill had hardened in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, Alan Maryon-Davis, a former president of the Faculty of Public Health, yesterday joined with two academics to urge the royal colleges and professional associations to “act decisively before it’s too late”.

In a statement Professor Maryon-Davis, Allyson Pollock and John Lister said: “Most of the royal colleges and faculties have so far sought to engage constructively with the government to gain various concessions. But there has been no change in the bill’s fundamental thrust. Hence our plea to the colleges and faculties.”

When news of the first meeting was reported in December a spokesman for Andrew Lansley said the idea was “a desperate move by Andy Burnham”.

He continued: “Andrew has always been clear that the NHS needs the comprehensive change it so obviously needs. Burnham’s move has a pretty low chance of success.”

The bill is currently moving through the Lords and it is not expected to gain Royal Assent before March.