The government has defended a new set of NHS “quality standards” following claims that they are simply rebranding old Labour targets.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the new standards were “not diktats” that are being laid down by politicians, adding that they had been developed by the health service with clinical outcomes, not political point scoring, in mind.
The standards will be introduced across 150 clinical areas and will establish the level and type of care patients can expect to receive, as well as the timeframe in which they can expect to receive it.
The first three have been published covering dementia, blood clots and stroke.
Mr Lansley rejected claims that the new standards were simply a new front for old targets, by saying that they had been developed in partnership with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on recommendations put forward by the NHS.
“These are standards, not diktats. It is not politicians establishing these, I am not picking them out,” he said.
“If I started doing that, I would be distorting clinical standards.”
NHS targets formed a key feature of the Conservative party’s health policy throughout its election campaign, during which it pledged to review unnecessary targets that were not exclusively tied to clinical outcomes for patients.
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