Heart tsar attacks Health Secretary's NHS reforms

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One of the most senior doctors in the Department of Health today launches a scathing attack on NHS reforms.

Sir Roger Boyle, who retired as the Government's National Director of Heart Disease at the weekend, accuses the Health Secretary of squandering past gains in treatment because of his obsession with opening up the NHS to private contractors, at the expense of patients. Sir Roger told The Independent: "The allegiances [of the private companies] will be to their shareholders, not to the users of the services. If the market was going to work, the Americans would have cracked it."

Mr Lansley's plans are "the ideas of one man acting without an electoral mandate", Sir Roger added.

He has accused Mr Lansley of "throwing out the old and bringing in the new without even looking at things that have worked well". His views are known to be widely shared in the department, across the profession and among MPs, and suggest the Government's revised NHS Bill will have a bumpy ride when it returns to the Commons in September.

Sir Roger says Mr Lansley had never bothered to visit him until a fortnight ago, despite his success in halving heart-disease death rates and slashing waiting times in the past decade, with minimal involvement by the private sector.