A former NHS chief has told the BBC that controversial proposals for the health service in England are a "mess" and "will set the NHS back."
Lord Crisp was both NHS chief executive and the permanent secretary at the Department of Health from 2000 to 2006.
Labour's Andy Burnham said the crossbench peer's words were "pretty devastating for the government".
The government says its plans will modernise the NHS, improve services and reinvest savings in front line care.
"I think the great mistake that the current government has made - and I can say this as an independent and not a politician - is that this is a terrible confused and confusing bill.
"It has tried to elevate the ideas of competition and the use of the private sector, which are just mechanics, just mechanisms, as if they were the purpose."
Is there are role for competition in the NHS? It didn't work for schools - only created inconsistency, inequality and unfairness. But as Crisp suggests, the Conservatives think competition is an end in itself rather than a means to an end.
EDIT: This was supposed to be posted in the News and Current Events forum. Still, it raises questions about the neoliberal ideology of the Conservative party - which is likely what motivates their sweeping public sector cuts.