Management costs in primary care trusts and strategic health authorities are to be slashed by 30 per cent over the next four years, health secretary Andy Burnham has announced.

The figures were included in a five year strategy for the NHS, launched by Mr Burnham today at the annual NHS chief executives conference.

The document, From Good to Great: preventative, people-centred, productive, said the government would make better data available to all NHS organisations about spending on management costs.

It said: “This will allow both commissioner and provider organisations to understand and reduce their spending on management and other overheads.”

The Department of Health said it would allow reconfiguration where it leads to greater “coterminosity” between PCTs and local authorities.

“Any proposals for changes to PCTs will be locally driven; we will not impose reorganisation from the centre,” it said.

The money saved will remain within NHS budgets to be spent on improving quality of care, ensuring patients have access to all drugs and treatments approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and responding to the pressure on the service from an ageing population and rising patient expectations.