Health secretary Andrew Lansley has hit back at critics of his health reforms, saying some concerns were “not valid” and opposition from unions was “not necessarily representative” of the health professions.
He said while some people have had legitimate concerns, “some of them have been concerns where…I know that they are saying they are worried about something, [but] I know that that’s not valid”.
The government has amended the bill to rule out the possibility of providers competing for NHS services on price. Mr Lansley said: “There are other things where they have concerns where we can do something about it - we have, we will continue to do so.”
But, he said: “I’m not going to change our policy on the basis of people saying it’s something that it isn’t.”
He said opposition from trade unions to his reforms were “not necessarily representative” of the health professions.
Mr Lansley denied that more competition in the NHS will create fragmentation. He said competition would be “for the best interests of patients”.
He said a well developed tariff would ensure this. “We’ve got to develop payment by results so that each procedure or pathway of care properly reflects the cost. If you get to that place, which is where we know we need to get to, then actually there is no scope for cherry picking.”
He also clarified that any willing provider means “any qualified provider” and argued: “The only way you can actually encourage patients to come to you is by providing a better service.”