Speaking at a Labour leadership hustings on health in Liverpool, Mr Burnham said his party’s biggest mistake was that it had not sufficiently prioritised mental health.
Labour should acknowledge that the GMS contract was a mistake, he said.
Fellow leadership contender Ed Miliband said the party had failed to ‘take people with us, particularly members of staff, in the changes we made in the health service’. A ‘culture of target and audit’ had gone ‘too far’ and had alienated staff, said Mr Miliband.
Despite his criticism of the contract, Mr Burnham said Labour had ‘saved the NHS by reducing waiting times, and had ‘re-built primary care’.
He went on to discuss his efforts to mount a campaign to block health secretary Andrew Lansley’s White Paper reforms.
'I believe we are looking really at a fundamental change to the character of our national health service,' he said.
'It’s privatisation of the commissioning function in the NHS that leads to great fragmentation of services – a postcode lottery writ large.'