Health secretary Andy Burnham has come under fire from two of his predecessors in two weeks.

During the furore over government proposals for stripping errant foundation trusts of their status, Patricia Hewitt told HSJ she had discussed her concerns issue with him.

This week Alan Milburn attacked Mr Burnham by name for pulling back from competition and making the NHS the “preferred provider” of services.

This is starting to look a mess. Mr Burnham appears to be pulling up major planks of the reform programme developed under Tony Blair without providing a coherent alternative.

His remarks on competition may have less to do with health policy than with Labour’s internal politics; having warm relations with the public sector unions might have advantages for a leading party figure looking to his future if Labour is dumped on the opposition benches on polling day.