Eight-month targets designed to eliminate health service 'paradoxes' are the cornerstone of NHS North East's Darzi vision.

The strategic health authority has used its document, Our Vision, Our Future, to draw up a series of urgent tasks for service improvement.

Chief executive Ian Dalton said he expected "significant" progress to have been made on a number of these goals by next January.

Describing the area as a "region of paradox", he said: "We have the best health services alongside the worst health, the worst life expectancy, the highest levels of reported sickness and illness and the highest teenage pregnancy rates and cancer rates."

The tasks include scaling up and performance managing public health improvement work, tackling unscheduled admissions through 24-hour access to community support services and piloting personal care budgets.

In addition, the SHA plans 24-hour access to emergency thrombolysis, one-to-one midwifery, shortened mental health waits and more choice over end-of-life care.

In order to address the needs of its rural population, it is setting up a regional commission for rural healthcare, chaired by NHS North East chair Sir Peter Carr. It has also offered to pilot a single urgent health and social care telephone number system for the NHS.

North East

  • Personal health plans for everyone at high risk of suffering ill health

  • Better and quicker access to mental health services

  • A pilot scheme - involving a single telephone number - for urgent health and social care

  • More access to consultants for women who need to see a doctor during labour

  • Establishing a North East child health network to agree regionally co-ordinated ways of caring for sick or injured children

  • Additional training for all NHS and social care staff who provide services for people with long-term conditions