Department of Health and Social Care
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Next stage for NHS: highest quality care for all

Next stage for NHS: highest quality care for all

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release (2008/0071) issued by The Government News Network on 30 June 2008

Darzi: Giving patients more say and staff more freedom to shape high quality care round patients' needs.

Ambitious plans were unveiled today by leading surgeon and Health Minister Ara Darzi, to raise the quality of healthcare for patients right across the NHS.

By putting patients' wishes first and giving doctors and nurses the freedom to respond to those wishes and offer the safest and most effective treatments, his proposals will transform the quality of care that patients receive.

After a 12-month review, led by 2,000 clinicians and staff across the country and involving 60,000 patients, public and staff, Lord Darzi has set out proposals that will give patients more choice, and information, reward the hospitals and clinics that offer both the highest quality of care, and provide the most responsive services.

The enormous investment that the health service has seen over the past eight years has led to more staff, faster access to care and a dramatic reduction in waiting lists. The final report of Lord Darzi's review entitled "High Quality Care for All", sets out plans that build on this progress and show how innovation and creativity of staff can further improve services.

The changes will be driven not through top-down targets but by giving responsibility to the staff at local level. The values that led to the creation of the NHS 60 years ago will be enshrined in a new Constitution, as well as setting out for the first time the rights of all patients.

Lord Darzi said:

"This report will enable frontline doctors, nurses and patients - who provide and use NHS services - to put into practice their visions for high quality care.

"As a surgeon I know how vital it is to balance the quality of the patient's experience - a clean and safe environment, being treated with compassion dignity and respect - with the success of the treatment they receive.

"By measuring this quality across the service and publishing that information for the first time, both staff and patients can work together to make better informed choices about their care.

"By setting clearer standards, and recognising and rewarding innovation in quality, we can keep pace with the very latest advances in medicine and technology. By investing in additional health centres and services for GPs the NHS will diagnose illness faster and help people to stay healthy, as well as treating them when they are sick.

"Today we are also publishing a new workforce strategy for the NHS that will ensure the service continues to have the most talented staff, fully supported to deliver quality care for patients. We are committed to making career progression clearer, easier and more flexible for all staff and having clinical leaders at every level in the service. By unlocking their talent we will enable them to provide a level of care which was unimaginable even 20 years ago."

Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson said:

"There are big challenges ahead but the NHS is clearly in much better shape than it was ten years ago - borne out by increasing satisfaction rates among patients and public. My first job as Health Secretary was to launch this review with the Prime Minister and I'd like to thank Lord Darzi for his outstanding work over the past year, reaching parts of the health service never reached before.

"These locally driven, clinically led plans show how quality of care will be raised right across the country, with doctors and nurses supported to offer big improvements in treatment at the bedside. Quality of life will be improved and more lives will be saved."

The report sets out how the NHS will -

Give patients more information and choice:

* The NHS Constitution will put privacy, dignity and cleanliness at the heart of care, with tough new enforcement powers coming in to tackle, for example, healthcare infections, and a checklist for all hospitals to reduce catheter-induced infections.

* Measuring quality of care and outcomes of treatment right across the service and publishing that information for the first time.

* Most effective drugs for patients with new right to all NICE-approved drugs, faster approvals process and transparent decision making.

* A patient's legal right to choice of any provider, including choice of GP services.

* 5000 patients with complex long-term conditions will pilot new personal budgets.

* Personal care plans for all 15 million patients with a long-term condition.

Help people to stay healthy, as well as treating them when they are sick:

* Supporting family doctors to help patients stay healthy and investing record amounts in new or improved wellbeing and prevention services that are easy to access.

* Launching a nationwide 'Reduce Your Risk' campaign to raise awareness of free vascular checks for 40 - 74 yr olds and help people to know when they need to get help.

* Piloting new approaches to help family doctors, community nurses, hospitals, local authorities and others work across traditional boundaries to provide more joined-up services and better health outcomes for people with conditions such as diabetes.

Enable frontline staff to initiate and lead change that improves quality of care for patients:

* No additional top-down targets beyond the minimum standards. Targets have been vital in driving up minimum standards of care across the NHS, but new accountability faces increasingly outwards to patients and the public and is based on the quality of care delivered.

* Every provider of NHS services will need to systematically measure, analyse and improve quality, displaying it to staff through 'clinical dashboards' to measure their performance and use the information to make continuous improvements.

* A clinical voice at every level - to ensure decisions are based on the best medical evidence.

* Enhancing professionalism. There will be investment in new programmes of clinical leadership, with all clinicians encouraged to be practitioners, partners and leaders in the NHS.

Fully support NHS staff:

* Establishing NHS Medical Education England - an independent, advisory non-departmental body that will scrutinise workforce planning proposals for doctors and dentists, as well as bringing a coherent professional voice on matters relating to education and training. Work will be taken forward with other professions to decide what other national advisory bodies are required.

* Tripling investment in foundation periods for nurses - a new period of preceptorship for nurses at the start of their careers, which will provide newly qualified staff with protected time and support as they move into practice for the first time.

* A new tariff-based system for education funding - for the first time education funding will follow the trainee, which will improve transparency, promote fairness and reward quality.

Notes for Editors:

1. The Department of Health has today published:

* 'High Quality of Care for all' The NHS Next Stage review final report by Lord Darzi
* A consultation document on the NHS Constitution
* NHS Next Stage Review : A High Quality Workforce: the Workforce, planning, education and training strategy

Copies can be read at: or at 3:30pm.

2. The 10 Strategic Health Authorities in every region of the country recently set out improvements in eight pathways of care and the main themes of these local plans were:

* Staying healthy - people want more support and advice to stay healthy
* Maternity and new-born. Women want greater choice and a more personal experience
* Children's. Services needed to be more effectively designed around the needs of children and families.
* Acute care. Saving lives by creating specialised centres for major trauma, heart attack and stroke care
* Planned care. More care could and should be provided closer to people's homes.
* Mental health. Challenge to extend services in the community, notably for psychological therapies
* Long-term conditions. Personalised partnerships between people and professionals
* End-of-life. Greater dignity and respect at the end of life


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