The head of the NHS in England has strongly denied staging a "cover-up" over the use of gagging orders to prevent staff speaking out about conditions in hospitals.
Appearing before the Commons Public Accounts Committee, Sir David Nicholson angrily denounced the claims made by Tory committee member Stephen Barclay as "erroneous and wrong".
Sir David - who is leaving after strong criticism over his role in the Mid Staffs NHS trust scandal - told the committee that he had always acted to support whistleblowers in the NHS.
"I can absolutely refute that I have ever been involved in any kind of cover-up in relation to the expenditure that's identified. I have been absolutely honest and truthful with this committee," he said.
He added: "I have always supported people who have stood out against the system. It is a very, very important part of being a health professional and being a leader in the NHS..."
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