The Department of Health insists ministers "can and do grip" the NHS system when they need to.
Conservative public health minister Jane Ellison was recorded at a private meeting saying the reforms had given away control of the NHS- a claim Labour used to accuse ministers of "washing their hands of responsibility" for the health service.
A Department of Heath spokesman said:
Giving operational control for the day-to-day running of services to doctors was the right decision - but we have always been clear that ministers are responsible for the NHS, and we are proud of its performance in challenging circumstances.
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The boy was found unconscious and in cardiac arrest and was rushed to hospital where he died.
The victim, who was wearing her uniform at the time, was found knocking on doors nearly four hours after she was abducted.
There will be gales across Scotland and northern England this morning, but these will gradually ease through the afternoon.