To win the next election outright, avoiding a Labour government, or even the Labour/ Lib Dem government under Ed Miliband and Simon Hughes described by Tim Montgomerie, the Conservatives need to deliver on what matters to the public. The economy and confidence in our economic credibility is always vital, but as this improves, voters will further prioritise public services when considering who to vote for. Education reform a la Gove has turned out not to be controversial, as it has been shown to work, and also makes sense. Reforming the NHS will always be difficult - issues are far more complex - but without support from those who work in it and consensus on the evidence this could prove to be one reform too many for the Conservatives.
Most doctors and other health professionals want to provide high quality services, and want to work in a system that allows them to do this. They recognise the need for reform, but the majority of those I speak to are weary of constant re-organisational upheaval - and we certainly had a number under the last Labour government. I personally know dozens if not hundreds of doctors who voted Conservative at the last election, partly because of the promise of no top down re-organisations. Evolutionary rather than revolutionary methods to achieve these aims would probably have been much more popular than the current health reforms which the NHS chief executive said are so large "you can see them from space".
It is easy to portray the BMA, Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives' opposition to the health bill as a product of grievances on pay and pensions, as they are trade unions as well as professional bodies. But I've spoken to many people in the BMA and although pensions are a big issue for them, that isn't the reason for opposition to the Bill. Last year the BMA voted to work constructively with the government, as did the Royal Colleges. Now they have moved to outright opposition. Now the Royal College of Radiologists and the Royal College of GPs have voted to oppose, after 98% of RCGP members surveyed said they wanted the Health and Social Care Bill to be withdrawn. The Faculty of Public Health is surveying it's members after an Emergency General Meeting voted against the reforms, and the Royal College of Physicians are holding an emergency meeting too. The Royal College of Surgeons have stated they have concerns, but will continue to work to improve the Bill. These are not trade union bodies, but represent their members' views regarding health care delivery.