Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Tuesday, 12 June 2012 15:47 UK

Lansley: Reforms not linked to NHS ratings fall

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has rejected a Labour suggestion that his stewardship of the NHS in England prompted a record decline in public approval of how the service is run.

At his departmental question session on 12 June 2012, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said 2011 was notable for "the biggest ever fall in public satisfaction with the NHS".

He added: "It was also the right honourable gentleman's first full year in office. Does he think these two facts are in any way related?"

"No I don't," the health secretary retorted.

The British Social Attitudes Survey indicated that public satisfaction with the NHS fell from 70% to 58% last year - the largest annual drop since it started in 1983.

But Mr Lansley said the 1,000 respondents to the survey were right not to be satisfied.

"I wasn't satisfied. We were in the midst of reform. We are changing the way the NHS is run.

"We were one of those on this side of the House, who were demonstrating to the public that improvement is necessary and possible in the NHS. We should not be satisfied."

More recent research indicated that "unprecedentedly high" levels of patients reported that they were satisfied with the care they had received, he said.

But Mr Burnham was not convinced, claiming that statistics were being manipulated.

"Managers are changing clinical criteria and removing people from [waiting] lists," he alleged, demanding an immediate inquiry into the "unacceptable practice".

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