21/07/2013 07:41 BST | Updated 21/07/2013 07:44 BST

Bruce Keogh 'Apologises To Andy Burnham' Over NHS Spat

Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Election Coordinator Andy Burnham addresses delegates during the fourth day of the annual Labour pary conference in Liverpool, north-west England on September 28 2011. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES. (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

An NHS chief has reportedly apologised to Labour's health spokesman after the Conservatives used a report he wrote to attack the previous government.

There have been angry clashes between the Tories and Labour over culpability for high death rates at 14 health trusts.

The hospitals were named and shamed in a report by Sir Bruce Keogh, the medical director of the NHS, putting former Health Secretary, Labour's Andy Burnham, in the firing line.

Labour dismissed the attack as a "smear campaign".

Now The Observer is claiming Keogh has apologised to Burnham about the way his report was used.

Tories had briefed that the report revealed 13,000 patients needlessly died, but Keogh said he did not recognised the figure.

According to The Observer, when Keogh and Burnham met recently, Keogh was overheard saying "Andy, I'm so sorry", while Burnham was said the NHS chief had "nothing to apologise for".

The paper also claimed Keogh had sent emails to "an unnamed individual" saying: "Don't believe everything you read, particularly in some newspapers."