"We have listened and have the support of NHS staff."
If the government had actually listened during its ‘listening’ exercise, perhaps they would have avoided the outspoken expert and professional opposition to the health bill that has reached a crescendo in recent weeks. And perhaps 71% of NHS staff wouldn't have felt that Andrew Lansley is doing a bad job.
From GPs and consultants, to nurses and health trade unions, people have been raising their objections via petitions, journals and marches. Health bodies and professionals have felt increasingly excluded from the development of the bill, and fear the finalised bill will have a negative impact on their professional standards and the service as a whole.
It's revealing to note that prior to the listening exercise - and for a short while afterwards - many professional organisations were willing to work with the reforms while remaining 'critically engaged'. The fact that many of those organisations have now asked for the health bill to be dropped suggests that the government do not actually know what 'listening' means.