The review of the government’s planned NHS reforms is not just a public relations move, the man in charge of evaluating choice and competition in the health service has said.
Amid criticism from all sides, ministers started the “listening exercise” on the changes to England’s health service earlier in April. But critics, including the Labour party, have said it is nothing but a PR exercise designed to pacify people worried about the Health and Social Care Bill.
Sir Stephen Bubb is looking at choice and competition as part of the review. In an interview with the BBC, he said he is not “biddable”.
The NHS Future Forum will canvass the views of medics, patient representatives and other interested parties. It is a chance to “pause, listen, reflect and improve”, prime minister David Cameron has said.
Professor Steve Field, who was formerly chair of the Royal College of GPs, is heading the overall review, with Sir Stephen in charge of the most contentious area.
Sir Stephen - chief executive of ACEVO, an association for the heads of voluntary groups - insisted in the BBC interview he would not refrain from criticising the reforms.
He said: “I’m not the sort of guy who is terribly biddable. If I think there are things that need changing I’m going to say so. It will then be down to the prime minister to decide whether that’s right and whether the changes are going to be made.
“I would not have got involved if it was a PR exercise. I don’t do PR exercises. I come from a sector that speaks truth to power. So people can be assured when they’re making comments to us we will listen to what they say.”