DoH axes primary care access targets

Access targets in primary care are to be removed as part of the government's drive to make immediate efficiency savings, a new NHS operating framework reveals.

A revision to the 2010/11 NHS Operating Framework sets out changes to key priorities for the NHS, which includes plans to reverse the rise in management costs seen in the last year.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said he wanted to free the NHS from bureaucracy and targets that have no clinical justification, and move to an NHS which measures its performance on patient outcomes.

He said: 'Doctors will be free to focus on the outcomes that matter - providing quality patient care.

'But I want to be clear - while the NHS will no longer be accountable to ministers or the DoH for its performance in these areas, it will be very much accountable to the patients and public it serves. Patients will still be entitled to rights under the NHS Constitution and the quality of their experiences and outcomes are what will drive improvements in the future.'

The revised framework also highlights that the government intends to reduce SHA and PCT management costs by £850m by 2013/14, a 46% decrease on management costs in 2009/10. 

Mr Lansley said: 'Management costs now stand at £1.85bn and it's our intention that during 2010/11 we will remove all the management costs that have been additionally incurred during 2009/10, to get back to the level of 2008/09. Then in subsequent years, we will go beyond that, with a further £350m reduction in 2011/12. '

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