The leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, has vowed to make the Tories "the party of the NHS".
Mr Cameron was speaking in Manchester after visiting Trafford General Hospital, which was the first to be taken over by the NHS in 1948.
He announced plans to dock payments to hospitals if patients contract infections such as the MRSA superbug, and said his party will scrap all centrally-imposed targets and focus instead on treatment outcomes, such as cancer survival rates.
And he also acknowledged people's own responsibility for their wellbeing, saying: "The body remains subject to the will of its inhabitant - that is to say, the personal choices that we make impact on our health far more profoundly that any remedial work doctors can do after the event.
"We must not put our trust in science to do what we can only do for ourselves - stay in shape by taking exercise, avoiding toxins, eating and drinking in moderation. As patients we need to be active, not passive."
Mr Cameron went on: "In this, the NHS's 60th year, the Conservative Party has an historic opportunity: to replace Labour as the party of the NHS.
"That's quite an aspiration - but I believe it is our duty to live up to it. To be the party of the NHS is an honour that must be earned."
"Is this from the same Tories who systematically dismantled the NHS over a successive period of 19 years? Didn't Margaret Thatcher once say the aims of their party was to only provide free service to the very poor and the rest of us could "pick and choose" our service through private insurances - modelled on the US system? So they plan to scrap central targets and replace them with the same "fines" that they put in place during their term of office that literally brought departments I worked in to their knees. How are they planning on judging the outcomes? What if you are unlucky enough to be living in an area with poor environmental factors with low pay and lack of affordable housing - which all adds to mortality rates? Will your local hospital then be penalised because your area is poor and your neighbours die earlier due to situations beyond your control? And the last time the Tories were in, nursing was one of the lowest paid and least recognised professions. Like Labour, they are high on promises, but low on delivery. The Tories are no friends of the NHS or indeed, any of the staff! - Name and address supplied