Legislation to scrap primary care trusts and strategic health authorities, create commissioning consortia and give providers greater autonomy has been laid before parliament.

Launching the Health and Social Care Bill today, health secretary Andrew Lansley said it would create “dramatic opportunities” to improve the way care was delivered.

He told journalists: “Our intention is to produce health outcomes that are at least as good as anything found elsewhere in the world.”

Responding to claims that the far-reaching plans are being brought in too quickly, he said they were “evolutionary".

He denied that the abolition of PCTs and SHAs was unnecessary, saying: “The argument that we could just put GPs into PCTs…that would have left a large tier of management in place…the objective is to shift it down.”

Scrapping PCTs was “simply a case of form follows function,” he added. “We can’t carry on with £5.3bn of administration costs. We’ve got to bring it down.

“The bill does enable that to happen in a way that then really focuses [on] supporting clinical leadership. Any other initiative would have never really allowed that to happen in the way we’re going to do it.”

The bill also sets out plans to establish a new patients’ organisation called HealthWatch and create Health and Wellbeing Boards to scrutinise local plans.

It would see Monitor turned into an economic regulator responsible for tariff price setting and sharing responsibility for licensing trusts with the Care Quality Commission.

GP consortia would be accountable to the NHS Commissioning Board, to be fully functional by April 2012.

At the launch, other members of the ministerial health team were keen to rebuff accusations that the NHS reorganisation amounted to an electoral betrayal by either the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats.

Tory health minister Simon Burns said: “It won’t come as a surprise to anyone who was interested in finding out.”

He said: “If you look at both the Lib Dem manifesto and ours you will see things like the Lib Dems were committed to abolishing SHAs.

“In ours, were were advocating the commissioning of services by GPs and were going to take out the day to day interference of politicians in health services.

“If you look at Andrew Lansley’s speeches in the two years running up to the election he was quite clear about his vision of a health service that wasn’t micromanaged by politicians."

In response, shadow health secretary John Healey said: “This health bill is three times bigger than the legislation that set up the NHS in 1948. It’s a huge upheaval which will put unnecessary extra pressure on the NHS and could open up all parts of the NHS to competition from private health companies.”

“The health secretary, Andrew Lansley has not listened to the warnings from health experts, professional bodies or patient groups, and is set to force through these changes.”