Andrew Lansley will today outline the key priorities he expects the NHS to address over the next three years as he makes his first ever “state of the health service” address to Parliament.
Increasing survival rates from cancer and improving patient experience in hospital will be among the key measures the Health Secretary will say the NHS will be judged upon.
There will also be a focus on improving the care for people with long-term conditions such as dementia and reducing the number of preventable accidents in NHS hospitals.
There will also be a new commitment to allow people to choose from a range of providers if they have waited, or are likely to wait, for more than 18 weeks for treatment
Under provisions in the Government controversial Health and Social Care Act the NHS is no longer under the day to day control of the Department of Health and passes to a new NHS Commissioning board.
But Mr Lansley is responsible for setting priorities for the board and is accountable to Parliament for the results the NHS achieves.
While Mr Lansely will stop short of setting specific targets and outcomes for the NHS today these are expected to be included in future reports after they have been consulted upon.
Mr Lansley will also announce that the new Chair of the NHS Commissioning Board could be asked to write Bank of England-style ‘open letters’ to the Secretary of State if they fail to achieve the care objectives.
Mr Lansley is expected to say that the changes are about “freeing” the NHS from day-to-day political interference while ensuring that it is responsive to the public demands
“We are laying the foundations of the new, more independent NHS,” he will say.
“An NHS will free from constant political interference, focused on achieving better results for patients not simply on processes and tasked with continuously improving the care that patients receive.”