The future regulation of healthcare needs a closer relationship between the NHS and local government and a system that is 'less institutionally driven', health minister Andy Burnham told a fringe meeting on Monday.

The future regulation of healthcare needs a closer relationship between the NHS and local government and a system that is 'less institutionally driven', health minister Andy Burnham told a fringe meeting on Monday.

He said that 'too often the NHS is too slow to come to the table with local government' and regulation remains too focused on 'process rather than outcomes'.

Mr Burnham said his contact with NHS staff in the past few months had given him 'a very strong sense of the limits of process regulation' and he admitted that there was a 'frustration with top-down interference'.

'Do we really measure what the public thinks is important?' he asked. 'Going forward we have to think much more about measuring patient satisfaction.'

He added that he wanted to ensure that regulation of the professions also matched up to that of organisations. He said he believed 'the public think that doctors are regulated more often than they are. Although I want to keep self-regulation I also have to be aware of the mood of the times and that we will mean we will have to look at the system.'

Denise Platt, chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection, said she had concerns about granting more freedom from the inspection burden for high-performing care homes. She said she was 'not sure the public would accept' proposals for such inspections to be restricted to every seven years, adding that 'we know that homes can deteriorate very rapidly'.