Conservative health spokesman Andrew Lansley has promised that a Tory government would cut spending on NHS admin by a third.

In his speech to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester today, he listed the increase in NHS managers among the running costs of primary care trusts that were ripe for streamlining.

We are determined to shift NHS funds from the back office to doctors and nurses on the front line

Andrew Lansley

He also highlighted the running costs of strategic health authorities and the Department of Health as the top targets for cuts. The cost of NHS quangos would also be cut by a third, he said.

The Tories have calculated that the annual cost of “NHS bureaucracy” is £4.38bn.

They say this is made up of £2.14bn for PCT running costs, £1.94bn for the cost of quangos, £200m for DH running costs, and £100m for SHA running costs.

Mr Lansley said that by the end of its fourth year in power the Conservative government would have cut spending on bureaucracy by a third to £3bn a year.

He said Labour had allowed wasteful spending to spiral. A Conservative government would cut it right back.

“We are determined to shift NHS funds from the back office to doctors and nurses on the front line,” he said.

“Our tough new approach will shift £1.5bn a year out to where it’s needed most,” he added.

NHS managers have been identified in the Conservative calculations of admin cuts. They say PCT spending on managers and senior managers has increased by 43 per cent since 2003-04.

Ms Lansley told delegates that all the money saved would be invested in frontline services.

The Conservatives also say they want to “drive efficiency” in hospitals but they want to do this at a local level.

Additionally, Mr Lansley outlined 12 public commitments on the NHS, including giving patients a choice over which consultant doctor would be responsible for their care