Lansley: My 57-step plan for the NHS will save 20,000 lives a year by improving quality of care

Benchmarks: Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, wants NHS doctors and hospitals to be graded

Benchmarks: Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, wants NHS doctors and hospitals to be graded

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley will today unveil plans to grade NHS doctors and hospitals to improve the quality of service for patients.

They will be judged against nearly 60 tough new “benchmarks” designed to save more than 20,000 lives a year.

In a speech at a Central London hospital, he will call on the NHS to focus on not only the speed at which patients are treated, but the quality of care that patients receive.

Figures on hospital death rates, the performances of GPs and surgeons and patients’ experiences will be published as part of the NHS Outcomes Framework.

Fifty-seven indicators will replace the former target-led system and will include a focus on improving cancer survival and a zero-tolerance approach to hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA.

The plans are designed to ensure patients are treated with dignity by measuring the ‘responsiveness’ of staff to patient needs.

They aim to improve women’s and families’ experiences of maternity services, increase the number of people who can access an NHS dentist and help older people recover independence after illness.

Under the plans, fewer people with long-term conditions like asthma and diabetes will be treated in hospitals, and patients undergoing hip and knee operations will receive better care.

An indicator on carers who look after sick and elderly relatives is also included.

Mr Lansley will say: ‘We have to clear the decks and be clear this is what we are focusing on.

“We have to clear the decks and be clear this is what we are focusing on”

Andrew Lansley, Health Secretary

‘People say in three and a half years’time, in 2015, at the next election, how will we know whether you’ve succeeded or not The answer is, “Have the outcomes improved”

‘It will be my failure if we haven’t improved them and the NHS should feel that it has not succeeded, that iswhat we are setting out to do.’

The Government will publish details ofthe current performance for each of the sixty benchmarks next week. National targets from improvement will then be set out by the time of the next election.

Today, the Government will publish forthe first time data comparing patients” experiences at individual GPs” surgeries, including recovery times.

It is hoped that revealing the information will force up standards by allowing patients to choose to avoid poorly performing doctors or institutions.

Where performance falls below minimum requirements the NHS Commissioning Board and Care Quality Commission will intervene to drive up quality, although how this will work in practice is unclear.

Held to account: Nurses and other NHS staff will be judged against nearly 60 tough new goals designed to save more than 20,000 lives a year

Held to account: Nurses and other NHS staff will be judged against nearly 60 tough new goals designed to save more than 20,000 lives a year

The aim of the plan is also to move away from a focus on targets, such as those for waiting times introduced under Labour.

However, patients will still have the right to prompt treatment within 18 weeks of referral by their GP as setout in the NHS Constitution.

Mr Lansley hopes the framework will also provide reassurance to parliamentarians about the accountability ofthe Health Secretary for the NHS.

There have been concerns that the Health and Social Care Bill, currently going through the Lords, dramatically weakens accountability of the secretary of state.

Mr Lansley also hopes the plan will provide a much greater level of NHS accountability by allowing better comparison with other health systems around the world.

The NHS has been criticised for lagging behind other countries in areas such as cancer survival.

Ministers will be expected hold the health service to account on delivering increasing improvements across all areas in the new framework.

Where performance falls below minimum requirements they will intervene to drive up quality, although how this will work in practice is as yet unclear.

The framework will also draw on existing information collected about the NHS to reduce the potential for”administrative burden”.