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Our NHS care objectives: a draft mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley today set out new care objectives for the improvement of health and healthcare, with the publication of a draft mandate – Our NHS care objectives:  a draft mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board – which sets out the expectations for the health service and marks the move to a more patient centred, independent, transparent and outcomes focused NHS.

Professor Malcolm Grant, Chair of the NHS Commissioning Board Authority said:

“For the first time the Government is setting out for public consultation, in this single statement, the improvements in health outcomes for the people of England that it expects the NHS to deliver in the coming years. In focusing explicitly on outcomes – such as reductions in premature deaths, and improving the experience of patients – rather than on processes and operational targets, it kicks off a fresh approach that has the potential to truly liberate the NHS. The idea is to give clinical leaders the freedom to innovate rather than tying them to centrally determined processes and subjecting them to detailed day to day political control.

“Hence the Department of Health’s consultation on the mandate provides an important opportunity for all those who share this determination to focus on real improvements in health outcomes to influence the way the future NHS operates in order to bring this about.

“I am convinced that the best way to do this is to keep the mandate focused on improving overall outcomes for patients, rather than clogging it up with a range of narrowly conceived targets. That would work in the opposite direction by stifling the very freedom and innovation that is essential for clinically-led future change that puts the patient at the centre of the system.

“That is the fundamental test against which we will be assessing the draft mandate, and we would encourage others to do the same.”

The government is now seeking public feedback on the draft care objectives www.mandate.dh.gov.uk. 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.

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