Labour have accused David Cameron of a "shabby" attempt to politicise the Mid-Staffordshire health scandal after the Prime Minister put some of the blame for hospital deaths on the target culture introduced by the previous government.

Defending NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson amid calls for his resignation, Mr Cameron said others should be considering their positions in the wake of last month's Francis Report.

Aides to the PM declined to confirm whether Mr Cameron was referring to former Labour health ministers, including Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham.

At Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Cameron insisted Sir David, who led the Strategic Health Authority covering Mid- Staffordshire at the time of the scandal, had already frankly and candidly apologised for failings that contributed to the deaths of hundreds of patients.

He told MPs: "Everyone has to think of their responsibilities with regard to the dreadful events that happened at the Staffordshire hospital, including the fact that part of the problem was people following a very top-down, target-led agenda which led to patient care being put on the back-burner

"David Nicholson has made his apology and wants to get on with his job of running an excellent NHS, and other people, frankly, should be thinking of their position too."

After the publication of the Francis Report into the scandal Mr Cameron said there should be no "scapegoats" for the failings at Stafford Hospital, where there were up to 1200 excess deaths between 2005 and 2009.

A senior Labour spokesman described the PM's comments as "a fairly shabby attempt to politicise the Francis Report".

The spokesman added: "The Francis Report specifically said that no ministers were to blame. Cameron said in his statement afterwards that he wasn't going to scapegoat people. This was a little cheap."

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt insisted Labour had to take responsibility for the effects of its policies in government.

"Labour's reaction to Mid- Staffs has been a deafening silence, which is shocking both in its arrogance and complacency," he wrote on the website.

"As the Prime Minister said today, David Nicholson has made his apology – it is time for Labour to make theirs. I would go further and say that, unless we hear a proper account from Labour, the public will reasonably conclude that similar events could easily happen again if Labour regained power."

Meanwhile, Labour leader Ed Miliband accused the Prime Minister of being out of touch for attempting to protect bankers' bonuses while disabled people with spare rooms were being hit by the Government's "bedroom tax". He seized on reports of division within the Government, highlighting unrest on Mr Cameron's backbenches and rumours of a leadership campaign by Home Secretary Theresa May.

But Mr Cameron hit back with an attack on Labour's economic record, calling Mr Miliband the "croupier in the casino when it all went bust".

He added the Labour leader had no plans to deal with the deficit and had opposed £83 billion in savings on the welfare budget.