Page last updated at 00:58 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 01:58 UK

NHS overhaul plans to be laid out

Lord Darzi
Lord Darzi is a practising surgeon in the NHS

Health minister Lord Darzi is to announce plans for the next 10 years of England's NHS after a year-long consultation with patients and staff.

His proposals are expected to focus on improving quality through financial incentives and performance data.

The review also includes controversial proposals for 150 GP-led health centres in England, which doctors have warned put existing services at risk.

The prime minister hailed the review as a "once-in-a-generation opportunity".

'Bold vision'

In his foreword to the report, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the reform plans would have "an even more profound effect" than previous shake-ups.

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"It is a bold vision for an NHS which is among the best healthcare systems in the world - a once-in-a-generation opportunity that we owe it to ourselves and our families to take," he said.

Lord Darzi's review will be published alongside the government's draft "NHS constitution".

It is thought patients will be given a legal right to choose where they are treated.

And reports have emerged that nurses will be encouraged to set up their own not-for-profit companies under the plans for NHS reform.

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The review is expected to focus on clinical quality, rather than quantity, with financial incentives for hospitals and GPs who provide a first rate service to patients, whose views will be given a higher priority than in the past.

Lord Darzi carried out a consultation with 10 regions around the country during his review.

Local plans announced at the beginning of June outlined changes to a wide range of services.

In the East Midlands, this included specialist heart attack centres, better maternity care and an expansion of cancer screening.

Opposition

An interim report from Lord Darzi in October outlined plans for GP-led health centres open 8am to 8pm seven days a week, to be used by anyone - whether or not they are registered there.

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This came after the announcement of a network of polyclinics in London which would provide GP care alongside some care traditionally provided in hospitals.

Doctors have clashed head on with the government over the proposals and delivered a petition to Downing Street signed by a million patients.

The British Medical Association says the government is guilty of foisting the health centres on areas where they are not needed - putting existing services under threat.

It fears they will be too big to offer patients continuity of care, and is concerned that they will not provide value for money.

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The Tories have also said the plans will put local GPs out of business.

But the government said they will be paid for out of new money and will offer patients more choice and better access.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said the public knew that the NHS needs reforming and that "Labour had failed them on this crucial issue".

"But they also know that Conservative reforms for health care will not threaten the security that comes with a health service available to all, based on need," he added.




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