More than 150 paediatricians are calling on the government to scrap its controversial Health Bill, saying it will have an “extremely damaging effect” on the health of children.

In a damning letter to The Lancet, members of the UK’s Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said there was “no prospect” of improving the Health and Social Care Bill, currently going through Parliament.

And they accused the government of “misrepresenting” the bill as being something that was necessary for the NHS.

The signatories join several royal medical colleges, including the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Radiologists, in calling for the bill to be scrapped.

The move will put increasing pressure on the government over the reforms, which have come under repeated fire from healthcare professionals.

Unions, including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives are among those calling for the bill to be withdrawn.

Today’s letter said that “if passed, we believe that the bill will have an extremely damaging effect on the health care of children and their families and their access to high-quality, effective services”.

It added: “We see no prospect for improvement to the bill sufficient to safeguard the rights of access to health care by children and their families.