Speaking at a BMA debate in London last month, Mr Lansley described widening health inequalities as a 'scar upon society'. The DoH should not preach policy to local communities, instead allowing GP consortia and local government to co-produce plans, he said.
'Our aim is to increase health of the poor fastest,' he said. 'We need to look at the causes of the causes of ill health.'
Working in partnership with the food industry could help tackle obesity, he said. But he was challenged by former Royal College of Physicians president Professor Sir Ian Gilmore. 'I'm concerned with the continued partnership with industry: they are there to make money for their shareholders,' Sir Ian said.
'In a financial downturn, it's good to get someone to pick up the tab, but we cannot ever have a meaningful partnership.'