Sir David Nicholson has told MPs he regrets not meeting with the campaign group 'Cure the NHS' when the failings at Stafford Hospital came to light.
He told the Health Select Committee he instead dealt with them through intermediaries and "that was wrong".
Cure the NHS campaigned for a public inquiry into the failings of the Mid Staffordshire Hospital.
More top news
In the run-up to the 8 June General Election, the Labour leader said he wanted to find a way of "reducing that debt burden".
Best of the clear, dry weather across the west overnight.
Chris Froome savoured his fourth Tour de France title as Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen won stage 21 of the race in Paris.