Angry NHS staff booed and heckled health minister Andy Burnham at Unison's annual healthcare conference this week.

Mr Burnham was subjected to cries of 'shame' and 'rubbish' as he spoke in Brighton on Tuesday.

The volume of noise sparked a showdown between delegates as hecklers in the public gallery were repeatedly asked to be quiet.

Mr Burnham told the conference that he accepted the past year had been tough for NHS workers.

'There are no further rabbits in the hat in terms of new reforms or policies coming out,' he reassured them.

He also revealed that plans to outsource the prescription pricing division abroad have been shelved, saving 2,500 jobs.

Unison head of healthcare Karen Jennings said: 'I think the conference conducted itself very well given the strength of feeling.'

The Royal College of Nursing is calling on MPs to back its opposition to this year's pay award.

RCN general secretary Peter Carter is to write to all MPs about the staged 2.5 per cent offer, with a view to putting their responses on its website.

The letter argues that the pay award is 'unjust'.

At its annual congress last week 98 per cent of delegates said the RCN council should consider strike action over the award, which Mr Carter said averaged 1.9 per cent.