Tories will end NHS targets 'to save 38,000 lives a year'

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A Conservative government would save 38,000 lives a year by scrapping Labour's top-down NHS targets, David Cameron will claim today.

Rather than concentrate on waiting times the government will measure how long people live after treatment and their quality of life. "We'll measure cancer survival rates, instead of recording the number of radiotherapy courses delivered per month in a particular oncology unit," the Tory leader will say. "We'll measure how well patients are after treatment, instead of timing how long someone's in an A&E bed."

In a Green Paper to mark the 60th anniversary of the health service, the Tories will argue that Labour's decision to double spending on the NHS has failed.

In a speech in London, Mr Cameron will promise to switch the focus to results for individual patients and away from "wasteful and counter-productive targets." Targets, he will say, mean that health staff are "ticking boxes" rather than ensuring the best outcomes for patients.

Labour's attempt to attack the Tory blueprint may be undermined by proposals today from the Labour modernisers' group Progress which are similar to the Opposition's plans.

A group chaired by the former health secretary Alan Milburn calls for a "move away from assessing inputs and activity towards measures that assess outcomes and experiences."