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.
More top news
The family of a girl who died of an asthma attack after a GP turned her away, are speaking out after the doctor only got a written warning.
An ex-boyfriend murdered a couple after he searched on google for videos on getting revenge and the lengths of sentence for murder.
The man was taken to hospital after the car he was travelling in was hit by a tree.