Press release

Number 10 Press Briefing - Morning From 20 Feb 2012

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Health Bill, UKBA report and Scotland were among the topics discussed at this session.

Health Bill

Asked who was attending the Downing Street meeting on NHS reform of that day, the PMS said that a list of attendees would be provided after the meeting but a number of national healthcare organisations and GPs were attending.

Asked whether the PM would be prepared to make amendments to the Bill following the meeting, the PMS said that the PM would be listening to a number of professionals about implementation of the reforms, but not the content of the Bill itself.

Asked whether the PM was only going to engage with organisations and individuals supporting the passage of the Bill, the PMS said that the PM had met with a large number health professionals and organisations over the past year.

Asked why the PM was only meeting those who supported the Bill that day, the PMS said that the meeting was about the implementation of the reforms. A number of meetings had already taken place with a range of interested parties and there was an ongoing dialogue.

Asked whether the PM was still willing to listen to the critics of the reforms, the PMS said that there was an ongoing debate about the reforms and the PM was not excluding anybody. Everyone had agreed that reform was necessary. The Government had proposed reforms which put patients first and the Government was taking the opportunity today to listen to the people who would be implementing the reforms.

Asked whether there were ever plans to invite the Royal College of GPs, the PMS said that those invited to the meeting were attending.

Asked how patients were going to be represented at the meeting, the PMS said that the Department of Health met with patients frequently to ensure their views were reflected in policy decisions.

Asked whether the one hour meeting would be sufficient to discuss the implementation of the reforms, the PMS said that the meeting was one of a series of meetings.

Asked whether the PM had any doubts over the reforms, the PMS said he had no doubts over the reforms. The meeting was happening because the PM was taking a keen interest in the future of the NHS and how the reforms were working.

Asked whether calling the meeting was a bad idea given the presentation of the Bill, the PMS said that the PM wanted to hear from GPs.

UKBA report

Asked whether the PM had seen the report on UK Border Agencies being announced by the Home Secretary that afternoon, the PMS said that the PM had been briefed on the contents of the report.


Asked what the PM was referring to when he mentioned extra powers available to Scotland if they voted against independence, the PMS said that the PM had expressed a view that extra powers were something the Government should look at.

Asked whether referendum voters should know what extra powers would be offered, the PMS said that the debate had been started by Alex Salmond and was about independence. There would be plenty of opportunity for debate in the coming period, but currently the Government was consulting on the process for a referendum.

Prof Les Ebdon

Asked how the PM felt about the appointment of Prof Les Ebdon, the PMS said that it was a Government appointment and the PM was supportive.

Asked why Prof. Ebdon was well suited for the job, the PMS said that there was a proper selection process and Prof Ebdon had been selected as the best person for the job.