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New framework for NHS to be set out

Ministers will set out a new results-driven framework for the NHS, which they claim could save thousands of lives a year.

Andrew Lansley will say that Labour's top-down targets prevented health professionals in the UK reaching the levels of success of their European counterparts.

While investment has been brought into line with Europe under the previous government, the number of lives saved has not, the Health Secretary will say.

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

"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."

The White Paper will also include plans to scrap the Food Standards Agency, it was reported on Monday. According to The Guardian, Mr Lansley will hand it regulatory responsibilities to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair, while its public health remit, and role in nutrition and diet advice will be taken over by the Department of Health.

Ahead of the White Paper, Mr Lansley said on Sunday he would cut £1 billion 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". He added: "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."

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