Health Secretary Andy Burnham admitted today he could not commit to NHS growth after 2011.

Mr Burnham, caught up in a row with the Tories over a potential £15 billion funding shortfall over the next decade, said committing to that would be "ridiculous".

Speaking at the NHS Confederation annual conference in Liverpool, he said: "People might not believe everything we say these days but there's confidence and a wider recognition we have looked after the NHS and made it our priority."

But he added: "I can't write the spending review - it would be ridiculous.

"We have stability for two years but the Prime Minister indicated the NHS will remain the priority for a Labour Government."