The Department of Health has denied stopping the expert leading a review of the controversial NHS reforms from appearing in front of a Commons committee.
A Labour member of the Health Select Committee said the department had “fiercely resisted if not vetoed” Steve Field appearing in front of the cross-party group.
But the department insisted that was not the case and Professor Field said he would be “delighted” to appear before the committee after he completed his review.
Professor Field, who chairs the NHS Future Forum, has warned the proposed shake-up risks “destabilising” the NHS.
In the Commons, Rosie Cooper (Lab, West Lancashire) said: “The select committee of which I’m a member wishes Professor Field to come and give evidence.
“I understand this is being fiercely resisted if not vetoed by the Department of Health.”
She called for clarification about Professor Field’s role, asking whether he was “acting independently and therefore … able to come to the select committee, or is he actually an agent of the Department of Health, which then calls into question the independence of that listening exercise”.
Commons leader Sir George Young said he would raise the issue with health secretary Andrew Lansley but added: “The normal routine is for ministers to appear before select committees because ministers ultimately are responsible for policy.”
Professor Field said he had made it clear he would give evidence to the committee after the NHS Future Forum had submitted its recommendations.
He said: “I have already met with the chair of the Health Select Committee and received their recent report on commissioning. I have also attended two open sessions with parliamentarians - both peers and MPs.
“Next week we will be trying to listen to as many views as possible. We are now in the final stages of the NHS listening exercise before the NHS Future Forum submits its recommendations to the government in early June.
“I have made it clear to the Health Select Committee that I would be delighted to give evidence to the committee at that stage.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: “The NHS Future Forum is independent. It would be entirely for Professor Steve Field to decide whether to appear before the committee.”