Jeremy Hunt has said that talks with government about a long-term settlement for the NHS are “difficult and ongoing” and any deal would be linked to new “simple goals”.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation conference on Thursday, he outlined several goals that would form part of any long-term settlement with the NHS. 

”We need to unite the NHS and British people with a small group of bold ambitions for how we want to transform our system,” he said.

These goals would include:

  • Waiting time standards for mental health that are “as strong and powerful as waiting time standards for physical health”
  • Bringing up cancer survival rates to the “best in Europe”
  • Transforming maternity safety up to the standard of Sweden
  • To “truly integrate health and social care”

He said: ”Lets put together some simple goals, not too many, that we all recognise and appreciate run through the heart of what we are trying to change.

“If you give the NHS simple clear goals, we will deliver those goals. But we will also be saying something to the British people, we will be saying, no we do not accept that the NHS is condemned to inevitable decline.”

Mr Hunt did not give any details on progress on the long term plan for the NHS, describing discussions as “difficult and ongoing”. However, he also said any additional money needed to have big focus on transformation.

”Let’s use this as moment to make sure we really do get that transformation happening, changing our care and pathways to move properly to prevention rather than cure.”

This could include ring-fencing some transformation funding, and Mr Hunt also hinted at more money for digital technology.

“The biggest single thing I’d like to see is the transformation of our hospital IT systems, which are often pretty lousy” he said.