NHS South Central has pledged to work to reduce massive variations in life expectancy and access to services.

In its vision for delivering Lord Darzi's next stage review, the strategic health authority says it will give patients a single point of contact to services to help them navigate the system.

Patients who are nearing the end of their life will be assigned a "key worker" to co-ordinate their care and support them and their carers.

The report says life expectancy in the region varies by as much as 25 years.

Other ambitions in Towards a Healthier Future include greater provision of preventive advice and treatment, ensuring all healthcare settings are safe and clean, and reducing the service's carbon footprint by reducing journeys by patients and suppliers.

NHS South Central chief executive Jim Easton said: "Towards a Healthier Future sets out how the NHS can rise to the challenges of an ageing population, more expensive drugs and treatments, and changing lifestyles over the next decade."

Dr James Cave, a GP in Berkshire and a lead clinician in the review, said the vision recognised that there were many examples of outstanding care. But he added: "The vision also recognises that there are areas within the South Central region where the local population does not have access to the same high quality care as other areas in the region.

"This vision sets about guiding the local NHS in addressing these inequalities, making sure that as the NHS celebrates its 60th anniversary we set the foundation for the next 10 years."