Critics complain of being excluded from 'crisis talks'
The Prime Minister held a meeting today with healthcare professionals to discuss the government's controversial proposals to reform the NHS.
But key opponents to the plans complained they were excluded from the "emergency summit".
The Health and Social Care Bill has generated heated debate over its proposals to give GPs control of much of the NHS budget and open up the health service to greater competition from the private and voluntary sector.
Health minister Simon Burns said today’s event was to meet groups who were "constructively engaged".
But opponents of the bill including the British Medical Association and Royal College of Nursing (RCN) complained they have been excluded from the event, while Labour also accused the Prime Minister of refusing to listen it his critics.
Dr Peter Carter, from the RCN, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme it was committed to working with the government, but said it had "huge reservations" about the bill.
"We really don't think it's a sensible way forward to think that you can have a meeting which has been called an emergency summit to take things forward without involving many of the key organisations that are intrinsic to making sure the NHS is successful," he said.
Burns said the RCN had been consulted and Dr Carter himself had spoken to the Prime Minister on the phone last month.
On Friday members of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health joined several Royal Medical Colleges, including the RCN and the Royal College of GPs, in calling for the bill to be scrapped.