A member of the Health Select Committee told the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley he must be "absolutely demented" if he thinks he has the support of health workers in the NHS.
Lansley, together with the Chief Executive of the NHS Commissioning Board David Nicholson, told the Health Select Committee in yesterday's (11 October) Public Expenditure meeting that QIPP (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention) efficiency savings are "ahead of schedule".
"Strategic Health Authority's have told us that while the composition of the efficiency savings vary, significant progress has already been made," said Lansley.
He claims administrative savings worth £240m were made in 2010/2011 – a figure that is "beyond all government expectations".
PCTs have also told Lansley that £5.9bn planned efficiency savings are due in 2011/2012.
Furthermore, the Audit Commission reported efficiency savings across all NHS services of £4.3bn during the year 2010/2011.
"If this is achieved, this puts us ahead of schedule," said Lansley.
The Health Secretary warned against making an 'unnecessary' distinction between QIPP and the Nicholson Challenge to make the £20bn efficiency savings.
When pushed by Labour MP Rosie Cooper on cost cutting measures, Lansley said he is not in a position to talk beyond 2012/13 with reference to national pay deals.
"When you speak everything sounds wonderful, everything is on target, QIPP is fine, everyone is supporting the reforms," she said.
"The reality isn't quite the pretty picture you are painting."
She cited a letter from a Chief Executive of an unnamed hospital who claimed QIPP has been "fairly negative to date" and is "unlikely at present" to develop a cost improvement programme.
Nicholson hit back at Cooper, claiming just because the government hasn't surrendered in the face of the challenges ahead, doesn't mean all is fine.
"Of course it's not all fine," he said
"We are all learning. This is unprecedented [change], no party has ever tried to do this."
Cooper dismissed a survey cited by Lansley suggesting 62% of NHS staff believe QIPP will have a positive effect on patient care, telling him: "You have got to be absolutely demented if you think the people support this."