DoH delays business plan release

Fresh uncertainty surrounds the coalition's NHS reforms after the Department of Health's business plan was delayed.

While other Whitehall departments have published updated details of their intentions for the next four years, the DoH will not release any information until a "listening exercise" on the controversial shake-up is complete.

The move comes as Health Secretary Andrew Lansley struggles to defend the reforms, which include putting doctors in charge of commissioning services.

Both David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg have indicated that "significant" amendments will be made to the legislation after concerns were raised by the medical profession and Liberal Democrats.

The original departmental business plans were launched by the Prime Minister last November to improve transparency over the policies that the Government was pursuing.

A statement on the Downing Street website said: "The 2011 business plans reflect an updated assessment of when the Government will implement its commitments set out in the Programme for Government.

"They also now include actions on growth and social mobility, and some minor presentation changes, including incorporating milestones into the main section of the business plans.

The statement added: "The Business Plan for the Department for Health will be published after the NHS listening exercise."