Press release

New care objectives for improving our health and healthcare

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley today set out his new care objectives for the improvement of health and healthcare, with the publication of his draft mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board.

“Our NHS care objectives: a draft mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board”, sets out the Health Secretary’s expectations for the health service and marks the move to a more patient centred, independent, transparent and outcomes focused NHS.

The mandate aims to;

  • set care objectives that really matter to people.
  • ensure that patients continue to receive high quality care every time - care that is effective, safe and results in patients having as positive an experience as possible. 
  • make sure that there is clear accountability and a transparent way to tell whether the Board is getting results.
  • set out a clear expectation for continuous improvement across the health service.

At the heart of the care objectives are a series of standards that broadly cover the range of work the NHS does:

  • Preventing premature deaths - helping people live longer
  • Supporting people with a long term condition to look after themselves
  • Supporting people through their recovery from episodes of ill health or injury
  • Making sure that people have a positive experience of care in the NHS
  • Treating people in a clean, safe, environment and protecting them from unnecessary harm.

These are standards that the Health Secretary expects to continue and improve.

The care objectives also include expectations about joining up different services around patients and carers; making the NHS more focussed on preventing illness; ensuring patients have more choices about where and how they are treated; and ensuring patients and carers are involved in decisions about care and treatment.

The Health Secretary is now seeking public feedback on the draft care objectives. The consultation period will run from 4 July to 26 September.  Responses will help to inform the final care objectives, which will be published in Autumn 2012, before they officially come into force in April 2013.  

**Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: **

“While the NHS is great in so many ways, it can still be better.  We want to help the NHS to be the best it can be.  The modernisation of the NHS will help to deliver better health, better care and better value for money. 

“In the past there has been too much focus on systems and processes rather than people.   For the first time we will focus on holding the health service to account for results that make a difference to people.

“The future of the NHS will be based on transparency, autonomy and the deep values that have seen it through six decades of change.  Parliament and the public will, like never before, be able to hold the Secretary of State and the NHS to account for what it actually does for patients. 

“The launch of these care objectives and the consultation underlines my ambition to improve outcomes for patients and place patients right at the heart of everything the NHS does.”

To coincide with the 64th anniversary of the NHS, the Health Secretary has also published two further key documents today, setting out;

  • A review of the health service last year, through **“The Secretary of State’s Annual Report 2011/12” **
  • A renewed focus on the importance of the NHS Constitution and the enduring principles and values of the NHS, through the “Report on the effect of the NHS constitution”

These documents complement the care objectives, reviewing the past performance of the health service, as well as setting out its future direction, particularly the importance of the NHS Constitution in upholding the core principles of the NHS.

From 2013, the Health Secretary’s annual report will become the principal method by which Parliament will hold the Health Secretary to account for the performance of the health service.

The 2011/12 report covers a wide range of achievements from across the health service, including the NHS, public health, education and training and the promotion of research, including:

  • Over 90% of admitted and 95% of non-admitted patients were treated within 18 weeks of referral.
  • 96% of patients spending less than 4 hours waiting in A&E
  • 12,500 patients helped to access the cancer drugs previously denied them.
  • £400 million invested in the Improving Access to Physiological Therapies programme (IAPT)
  • MRSA infections down 24.7% and C.Difficile infections down 17%, the lowest levels since mandatory surveillance began

In addition to the annual report, the Health Secretary has also published a report on the effect of the NHS Constitution on patients, staff, carers and members of the public. This will inform efforts to fully embed the Constitution throughout the NHS.

Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley said:

“Today is also about thanking NHS staff for the excellent performance they have achieved over the last year in challenging financial times.  They have hugely reduced the number of people waiting long times for treatment, they’ve almost completely ended the indignity of people being treated on mixed sex wards and they have ensured that fewer people than ever are getting infections likeMRSAor C-Difficile.

“This is a record they can be proud of, and one that we hope to improve each year through our new care objectives for the NHS.

END

Notes to Editors

  1. For further information, please contact the Department of Health on 020 7210 5081
  2. The mandate is a multi year document, which will be published annually to ensure it remains up to date.  The first mandate will come into force from April 2013.
  3. You can find out more and respond to the consultation on the mandate on the DH website. 
  4. You can find out more about the Secretary of State’s Annual Report on the DH website.
  5. You can find out more about the report on the effect of the NHS Constitution on the DH website.