FIVE Southampton doctors have signed a letter calling on the Government to scrap its health reforms.

GPs and specialists were among the 400 medics who said the changes would cause “irreparable harm” to the NHS.

Their intervention came at a critical time for the controversial legislation as it was last night debated for one of the last times on the floor of the House of Commons.

In June the Government announced a series of changes to the original proposals in the face of mounting opposition.

Among the changes are plans to allow hospital doctors and nurses – not just GPs – on new commissioning consortia and scrapping an April 2013 deadline for the new boards to take over.

Unveiling the updated bill to MPs last night, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said new safeguards had been introduced to guard against privatisation, but critics are still worried.

Signatories to the letter included Southampton medics Dr Colin Godber, a retired psychiatrist, consultant haematologist Dr Matthew Jenner, consultant medical microbiologists Dr Sue O’Connell and Dr Adriana Basarab, and Dr Tom Bennett, a paediatrics specialist.

Calling on the Government to withdraw the bill, it said: “This legislation will cause irreparable harm.”