Health minister Lord Darzi has pledged that ‘quality is well on its way to becoming the organising principle of the NHS’.
He was announcing proposals for giving doctors and nurses control of their budgets while scrapping some centrally-driven targets.
The initiatives are contained in his report, High-Quality Care for All: Our Journey So Far, on progress since his review of the NHS a year ago.
Personalised care plans for millions of long-term patients are highlighted, as is the claim that three-quarters of GP surgeries now open for more hours a day.
At the same time, he says, C diff and MRSA hospital infections have been substantially reduced, while no-one has to wait more than 18 weeks from referral to treatment.
Future pledges include giving hospital doctors and nurses control of their budgets, and axing ‘obsolete’ 13-week outpatient and 26-week inpatient performance targets.
Meanwhile, a ‘gold standard’ of care is the aim of a peer-review accreditation system as the NHS transforms from a ‘sickness’ to a ‘wellness’ service in which the well-being of patients and staff is paramount.
Lord Darzi said: ‘I am delighted that such substantial progress has been made and that real improvements have been delivered across the country.’