‘City workers helped me change reforms’

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NICK Clegg has revealed how suggestions he received from Sheffield health workers helped shape key changes to controversial Government NHS reforms.

The Hallam MP and Deputy Prime Minister said he has met hundreds of doctors, nurses and other staff over the last few months to find out their views.

The discussions occurred while plans by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley were being reviewed and subseqyuently changed.

Mr Lansley initially proposed giving GPs’ control of budgets for patients’ treatment and allowed private firms to compete in offering services for the NHS.

But critics feared private firms would ‘cherry pick’ profitable treatments and leave the NHS to provide difficult and expensive procedures.

Mr Clegg said the proposals had been changed because ‘it became obvious it wasn’t right to have competition right across the NHS’.

He said: “I’ve learned a lot over the last few weeks and months as the coalition has sought to adapt plans for the NHS.

“There is something unique about my constituency where you have a large number of people who work in the NHS and care passionately about it.

“I’ve spoken to the GP across the road from my constituency office, staff at Weston Park and the Royal Hallamshire hospitals, and held a question and answer session at Endcliffe Methodist Church.

“I have spoken to hundreds of people, including Sheffield representatives of the Royal Colleges of medicine and, only this last weekend, I have had a meeting with more health service staff at my constituency office.”

Key suggestions from Sheffield health workers Mr Clegg said have been adopted as part of the new proposals include preventing private companies from competing on price.