The Department of Health will increasingly place trusts under “high pressure” not to make cuts that damage services and to “encourage” the “right” actions.

Speaking at the Westminster Health Forum last Thursday, DH lead for quality, innovation, productivity and prevention Jim Easton said some organisations’ cost-cutting schemes were failing to protect quality.

He said: “We want to create a high pressure system in which these things are transparent.”

He said the DH would be increasing pressure on what people were doing and encouraging “the right action”, adding: “The pressure on quality is going up and up.”

This would involve greater transparency to reveal where cuts may be adversely affecting quality and to give commissioners access to useful data.

Mr Easton highlighted the Care Quality Commission’s planned “quality and risk profiles” and praised clinical commissioners who studied admissions data.

Some parts of the NHS were proving that what was often seen as the “inexorable rise” in accident and emergency admissions “can be stopped and even turned around”, he said. But this success needed to spread to other areas, he added.