Clegg in U-turn on NHS reform plans

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg yesterday chose the NHS as a coalition battleground as he insisted that the service would not “change for change’s sake”.

In his first major speech on the health service since first signalling his concerns over the NHS reforms, Clegg stressed that there were no arbitrary deadlines for reform.

And in a bid to remind the electorate of the differences between his party – the Liberal Democrats – and the Conservatives, Clegg said change would not happen “overnight”, and made it clear that GPs would not have to take over from Primary Care Trusts if they were not ready to do so.

He suggested the NHS reform bill may need to go back to a committee of MPs for further scrutiny, and reiterated his opposition, first voiced last month, to promoting competition in the sector at the sacrifice of collaboration.