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Ministers to set out new framework

A new results-driven NHS framework is to be set out by ministers, who claim it could save thousands of lives a year.

Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, is to say that Labour's top-down targets have led to UK health professionals being unable to equal the success enjoyed by their European counterparts.

He will say that although the previous government brought investment into line with Europe, the number of lives being saved is still lagging behind.

Launching a health White Paper, he will claim that 20,000 deaths from cancer and strokes could be avoided each year. This could be done by making the NHS more accountable to survival rates and other "outcomes".

"Over nine years ago, Tony Blair committed the government to matching European levels of health spending. Today, that pledge has been delivered," he will say.

"But do the results for patients match the increase in spending?

"That is what the previous government's regime of top-down process targets and central bureaucratic control of the NHS was supposed to ensure.

"However, many of our health outcomes - including stroke and cancer survival rates - lag behind our European counterparts.

"We will get rid of the top-down process targets which get in the way, improving patient care.

"Only by focusing on results for patients will survival rates improve to the level that they should be."

Ahead of the White Paper, Mr Lansley said on Sunday he would cut £1bn from NHS bureaucracy and use it to improve frontline services.

As part of the shake-up, GPs will be given a far greater role in commissioning services for their patients. Patients would be given more choice and control of their care.

But Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, said the plans made him "want to weep".

"What you have got about to happen with this Tory White Paper is all of this painstaking work to put that complicated jigsaw into place of a health service that really is an outstanding health service, Mr Lansley is about to pick up that jigsaw and throw it all up in the air," he said.

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