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Policy Update: Putting the NHS on the side of patients

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Health Secretary Andrew Lansley today set out his vision for an NHS that is truly on the side of patients. In a key speech at Guy’s Hospital, he made three major announcements about driving up patient results and giving patients more control over their healthcare, including:

  • A renewed focus on improving patient results through the NHS Outcomes Framework 2012/13;
  • A new map of local health services which patients will be able to access through the ‘Any Qualified Provider’ policy starting from April 2012; and
  • A new map of GP practices on NHS Choices which will make it much easier for patients to identify the best GP practice for them.

In a push to focus on results, from now on, the NHS will be measured against a number of areas including whether a patient’s treatment was successful, whether they were looked after well by NHS staff and whether they recovered quickly after treatment.

In a step towards improving choice in the NHS, the door is now open to a range of qualified providers to offer services to patients. From today, patients will be able to see on a new user-friendly map which local services will be available to them through ‘Any Qualified Provider’ from April 2012. From hearing services to wheelchair providers, patients across the country will have a choice of who looks after them in at least three areas of clinical care.

In a move to give patients more information about GP practices, from today new user-friendly maps will be available on NHS Choices which will make it much easier for patients to identify the best GP practice for them.

Millions of people with long term conditions like asthma, diabetes, depression and heart disease will now be able to see which surgeries have significant experience of treating patients like them. They will also be able to see the number of patients registered at a practice and their breakdown by age and gender as well as, for the first time, to what extent different GP practices offer patients choice of their first hospital appointment. This is the beginning of a journey towards giving patients choice, regardless of where they live, over their GP.

Andrew Lansley said:

"Today, we are making it clear that the NHS is about one ambition and one ambition alone - improving results for patients.

"And that is the change that the NHS Outcomes Framework that we’re publishing today, will bring about. It sets the direction for the whole NHS. Orienting the NHS back towards the people who really matter: its patients.

"And it sets out how we will hold the NHS to account for improving the results that patients get.

"But to realise my ambition -- I must realise the ambitions of the near one million patients that come into contact with the NHS every day.

  • to give patients genuine options over their care
  • to give patients the tools they need to decide with their doctors the right way forward.
  • to ensure decisions are only taken by doctors, nurses and patients together - genuinely sharing in the decisions made about their care.

“My ambition for patients is, quite simply, this: ‘No decision about me, without me.’

“And let me tell patients - remember that in the NHS - it really is all about you."

Commenting on the NHS Outcomes Framework, Norman Williams, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

"The Royal College of Surgeons strongly supports the focus on improving clinical outcomes for patients outlined in the NHS Outcomes Framework and, in particular, in this newest publication, the increased attention given to reducing premature mortality for all cancers.

“It will help the NHS Commissioning Board, clinical commissioning groups, NHS trusts and all clinicians and managers to focus on our most important challenge - to work together to bring the quality and standard of care for all patients, of all ages, up to that currently being experienced by those treated in the highest performing hospitals.

“At the moment, patient death rates and standards of care vary significantly between hospitals and specialties and, as we have consistently recommended in our national guidance, this must be improved."


Notes to editors

  1. For further information, please contact the Department of Health Newsdesk on 020 7210 5221
  2. The NHS Outcomes Framework 2012/13 can be found here: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_131700
  3. The new map of health services available through the Any Qualified Provider policy can be found here: http://www.supply2health.nhs.uk/AQPResourceCentre/AQPMap
  4. These community based services have been selected by commissioners after consultation with their local patients about where they want to have a greater choice in who provides their care, making the NHS more responsive to local need.
  5. The new tool for patients to choose GPs based on indicators of quality can be found her: www.nhs.uk/findgp
  6. A copy of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's speech as delivered is available at https://www.wp.dh.gov.uk/mediacentre/?p=9521

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