A £10m reward is to be offered by the government for the most innovative schemes to tackle heart disease, it emerged today.
The money will be in addition to a £60m incentive scheme announced after the Budget to reward hospitals which achieve the best performance in reducing waiting times and cutting the number of cancelled operations.
A Department of Health spokesman said the £10m was the first occasion on which money had been distributed in an entirely performance-related basis.
It will reward 22 projects which have been found to improve the prevention and treatment of heart disease, and will include chest-pain clinics and clubs which encourage healthy eating as well as hospitals.
Health Secretary Alan Milburn will unveil the new scheme in a speech to the Royal College of Surgeons on Thursday.
Ministers are also considering requiring hospitals to publish how they perform in a prospectus in order to give the public information with which to press for improvement, according to a report in The Observer.
This information - expected to include details of cleanliness and quality of food - will make it possible to draw up "league tables" for hospitals. It is thought however that the Department of Health has no plans to do so.