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Andrew Lansley also insisted that Labour's "substantial increase" in health spending over the last decade was "not sustainable for the future."
The Tory minister dropped the bombshell on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on which he said: "What is sustainable for the NHS is that we deliver efficiency savings in the NHS in the same way as the rest of the public sector."
The Liberal Democrats have accepted Tory proposals on health spending, he added.
Mr Lansley spoke as if the NHS was a business.
He said: "I am determined that we will have an NHS in which the patient shares in making decisions.
"We will need progressively to be more efficient, to cut the costs of what we do now, to innovate and redesign in order to enable us to meet increased demands and to improve quality and outcomes."
Campaign group Health Emergency director John Lister warned that this would mean massive cuts to jobs, hospital beds and A&E departments across the country.
He said: "Mr Lansley is talking about bigger cuts than Labour and, not to put too fine a point on it, people are being conned. There will be even bigger NHS Tory cuts than Thatcher."
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said Mr Lansley's proposals will have "a devastating impact on our hospitals."
He added: "There is nothing left to cut without seriously hitting patient care and waiting lists. What happened to all those election promises about maintaining NHS spending?"
In a worrying Independent interview in 2005, Lib Dem leader and new Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg spoke of "breaking up the NHS."
A Unison spokeswoman said: "It does not come as any surprise whatsoever that Mr Clegg made those comments. Behind Cameron is a whole line of people who firmly believe that people should 'pay for what you get'."
A spokesman for the Lib Dems insisted Mr Clegg was "committed to the NHS free at the point of use and always has been."
Source: Morning Star