Legislation meant to end the variable access to drugs in NHS hospitals will be enforced, the health secretary has told the Commons.

Andrew Lansley said there were already laws in place which say that when NICE recommends a drug for use, it should be available everywhere.

But he told MPs in the first questions session of the new year this had not been implemented by the last government.

Labour MP John Healey asked: “If NICE says a drug should be available on the NHS wherever they live, whatever their clinical commissioning group, will they get it? Can you give that guarantee today?”

Mr Lansley said: “As you know perfectly well, under the last government that is exactly what did not happen.

“What the NHS chief executive’s innovation report in early December made clear was that firstly we will make certain that where NICE gives a positive appraisal for medicine that it is automatically included.

“We will establish an effective compliance regime on NICE appraisals and establish a new Nice implementation collaborative to make it happen.

“You know perfectly well the legislation is clear. Where NICE gives a positive appraisal, a medicine should be available across the NHS. It has not in the past been achieved under your government.

“What we will do, and the NHS chief executive is setting out to do, is to show how that will happen in the future.”