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Consultation launched on NHS proposals

Detailed proposals for how the NHS will improve healthcare outcomes for patients and judge its success have been set out in a public consultation by the Department of Health.

The publication, Transparency in Outcomes - a framework for the NHS, is the first in a series of specific consultations to be published in the coming weeks seeking the views of healthcare professionals, the public and other interested parties on the detailed proposals. 

The consultation also marks the start of a series of visits and events that will take place across the country this summer to present and discuss our reform plans.

The White Paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, published on 12 July, explained the government's intention to create an NHS that is more responsive to patients' needs and achieves better outcomes that are among the best in the world.

The publication proposes a new framework that aims to refocus the NHS on the outcomes achieved for patients rather than the process targets of the past that had no clinical justification.

The framework includes a set of national outcome goals which patients and the public can use to judge the overall performance of the NHS and hold the government to account for progress. 

The framework and the national outcome goals will form a combined mechanism by which the Secretary of State for Health can hold the new NHS Commissioning Board to account for the outcomes it is securing for patients.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "The White Paper set out the government's vision for the NHS - a quality service that achieves health outcomes that are among the best in the world.  I want to free doctors and nurses to focus on what really matters - better results for their patients - instead of them being stifled by top down targets.

"Instead of politically motivated targets which lack clinical evidence, we will measure the outcomes that are most important to patients and that are relevant to healthcare professionals.  These will be backed up by authoritative, evidence-based quality standards that will ensure everyone understands how those outcomes can be achieved.

"I want to hear the views of healthcare professionals, patients, carers and the public on how the new system should work, and what we should measure to ensure the NHS is focused on what is important to patients and what improves their overall experience of NHS care."

Department of Health

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"What real expertise do GPs have to be commissioning health services for patients? Have they got a good track record in seeking the opinions of nurses, AHPs and patients about services they currently provide themselves? I fear that they may see it as another opportunity to meet their own agendas rather than enhance patient outcomes" - Francine Nutt, Shropshire