Doctors seek health reforms talks
Family doctors' leaders have offered an olive branch to ministers in their bitter battle over the Government's NHS reforms.
The Royal College of General Practitioners - which has been one of the strongest opponents of the Health and Social Care Bill - has written to Prime Minister David Cameron offering talks on its implementation.
In her letter, sent last week, college chair Clare Gerada stressed that they had not changed their views on the legislation.
However, she said the debate had become "polarised" and suggested the time had come "to restate our similarities rather than continuously focus on our differences".
The prospect of a truce with the GPs - who have a key role to play in the reforms - will come as a relief to the Government as the Bill returns to the House of Lords while MPs stage an opposition day debate in the Commons.
In the letter to Mr Cameron, Dr Gerada said the Royal College of General Practitioners hoped to find an acceptable way forward in which it could work with the Government towards the future stability of the NHS in England."
Dr Gerada said the College had in no way diluted its opposition to the legislation - which it still wanted dropped. The letter was written more than a week ago but "nothing much has changed", she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
"What else are we supposed to do? We have tried everything."
She told the programme: "Nothing has changed. The Royal College of GPs are still asking for withdrawal of this Bill. The Bill is so complicated, with hundreds and hundreds of amendments, that I challenge anybody to make sense of it.
"No organisation that represents health professionals or those working in the NHS want it. Let's stop this Bill and then let's work with the Government... to stabilise the NHS and to find a way through this."