NHS Outcomes Framework: Goals to focus on patient surveys
Patient surveys are to be at the centre of new goals to measure the quality of care received in the NHS in England.
Speaking at a London hospital, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley will call for focus on what matters most to patients.
The latest NHS Outcomes Framework stresses surveys of patients, including children, and bereaved relations.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Lansley said patients would be asked: "Was the service and experience you had good or not?"
Of bereaved relatives he said: "We'll be... asking them, after a suitable passage of time, what was their loved one's experience of care and how well were they looked after towards the end of life."
He added: "[We will] ask children about their experience. So five- to 16-year-olds would be part of this survey, with their parents, so for the first time we'll be measuring as part of the outcomes the children's experience of their care."'Clear focus'
The latest framework aims to measure the "responsiveness" of staff to patient needs when staying in hospital.
Much of what has been announced on Wednesday is already being done in the NHS. Surveys have been used for years, while outcome measures - such as how many people survive a stroke - are already looked at across the service.
What Andrew Lansley has tried to do is articulate a clear vision about how he expects them to influence performance in the future.
He wants to put the patient in the driving seat. But of course they are going to need help navigating their way through the raft of information.
More user-friendly data will be put on the NHS Choices website. But the health secretary is also hoping to exploit new technologies such as smart phone apps.
The simple laws of demand and supply will play an important part as well. GPs who take control of the NHS budget will be expected to use their buying power to channel resources at the best care to ensure the top-performers survive.
It is also designed to improve women's experiences of maternity services, increase the number of people who can access an NHS dentist and help older people recover independence after illness.
Mr Lansley said: "We have to clear the decks and be clear this is what we are focusing on.
"People say: 'In three-and-a-half years' time, in 2015, at the next election, how will we know whether you've succeeded or not?' The answer is: 'Have the outcomes improved?'
"It will be my failure if we haven't improved them and the NHS should feel that it has not succeeded, that is what we are setting out to do."
He said he was concerned that for many diseases, including cancer, Britain's survival rates lagged behind other countries.
"If we were to achieve internationally benchmarked, highest levels of cancer survival, we would save 5,000 lives a year. That's what our cancer outcome strategy is aiming for," he stressed.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: "Doctors and nurses will roll their eyes in sheer disbelief at this news.
"The government that promised to scrap NHS targets now loads 60 new targets on an NHS already under severe pressure. It will add red tape and bureaucracy just as the NHS is struggling to cope with the financial challenge and the biggest reorganisation in its history."