Jeremy Hunt has promised ‘more transparency in return for fewer targets’ in a major speech setting out his vision for the direction of the NHS over the next 25 years today.

In March, England will become the first country in the world to publish avoidable deaths by hospital trust, Mr Hunt said, while the King’s Fund will produce ratings on the overall quality of care provided to different patient groups in every health economy.

In his speech in London Mr Hunt also said:

  • Monitor and the TDA will be renamed NHS Improvement, with an explicit mission supporting providers to become more efficient and provide higher quality car;
  • The new regulator will be chaired by Ed Smith, currently NHS England’s deputy chair;
  • Lord Darzi has been appointed a non-executive director for NHS Improvement; and
  • NHS England’s patient safety function, led by Dr Mike Durkin, will be moved to the new regulator.

The Health Secretary has asked Dr Durkin to work with NHS England’s chief nursing officer Jane Cummings to develop safe staffing guidance.

The resulting safe staffing levels will be subject to approval by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the chief inspector of hospitals Dr Mike Richards, and Sir Robert Francis.

Dr Durkin will also be asked to establish a new “Independent Patient Safety Investigation Service”, modeled on the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

An international buddying programme will be set up, beginning with five trusts to work with US care organisation Virginia Mason.

The five are:

  • Surrey and Sussex Healthcare;
  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals;
  • University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire;
  • Barking Havering and Redbridge; and
  • Shrewsbury and Telford.

Mr Hunt wants the international buddying programme to extend, giving trusts the opportunity to learn from international exemplars such as Kaiser Permanente, Valencia, and the Mayo Clinic.

The Rose review into NHS leadership will be published today.

In line with Sir Stuart Rose’s recommendations, a single body responsible for leadership in the service will be set up, rolling the NHS Leadership Academy’s functions into Health Education England.

Mr Hunt announced he would also publish the following reports later today: Freedom to Speak Up, by Sir Robert Francis on whistleblowers; the Morecombe Bay investigation; and Public Administration Select Committee report on complaints handling. All were initiated during the previous parliament.

Sir Bruce Keogh’s review of the professional codes of practice for doctors and nurses will be also published today.

Sir Bruce has recommended that “more work needs to be done on incentives” in order to make openness and transparency the default option.

As previously reported, Mr Hunt issued an ultimatum to the British Medical Association over seven day working for consultants.

He said the BMA needed to “get real”, and argued that a lack of consultant cover at evenings and weekends was responsible for 6,000 deaths a year. The BMA is “not remotely in touch” with the views of its own members, he said.

The doctors’ union has until September to agree a deal with the government. He said he would not allow the BMA to be a “road block” to reform.

If no agreement was reached, the government was willing to impose a seven day contract on all new consultants. Ministers want at least half of all consultants on seven day contracts by 2020.

The new contract will be fairer to consultants in specialisms which already require seven day working.

It would end “extortionate” higher rates for unsocial hours shifts, he added.