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Lansley pushes for patient-centred care

In his first speech as secretary of state for health, Andrew Lansley presented his vision for putting patients at the centre of UK healthcare

After six and a half years as shadow secretary, the newly appointed secretary of state for health of the UK's coalition government, Rt Hon Andrew Lansley, presented his plans for the NHS on June 8, at the Bromley by Bow Centre, East London, to an audience of patients and health bosses. 

"There is no trade-off between safety and efficiency," said Lansley, stating that a combination of information and choice would hold people to account and drive up standards in service provision. 

Lansley called for patients to be provided with information on access, waiting times, cleanliness, infection rates, quality of clinical care, results for patients, access to same sex accommodation and single rooms, cancelled operations, emergency re-admissions, discharge arrangements, numbers of complaints, patient experience and patient-reported outcomes in order to make informed choices.

These quality accounts and benchmarks of performance would also be linked to payment, so that performance and results, as opposed to activity, are rewarded, he said.

By giving patients and care-users more control to exercise choice, and give feedback on their care, Lansley specified that the bureaucratic power of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) would be diminished. 

Lansley also proposed removing targets that have no clinical justification, and making hospitals responsible for patients for the 30 days after they've been discharged. If a patient is readmitted within those 30 days, the hospital will not receive any additional payment for the additional treatment – they will be focused on successful initial treatment and re-ablement and support for people as they return home.

In response to this announcement, however, the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland labelled the proposal to financially penalise hospitals for re-admissions within 30 days as "short-sighted and counter-productive." 

"It will just encourage hospitals to keep patients in," the organisation's vice president, Professor John MacFie, said.

9th June 2010

From: Healthcare

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