Published Tue, 2010-10-05 17:20; updated 38 weeks ago.
Health Minister Andrew Lansley promised to unleash an information revolution throughout the NHS.
Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham on Tuesday October 5, he said the Government’s health service reforms were all about giving patients choice.
"But choice without information is no choice at all," he said. "That is why we will unleash an information revolution throughout the health and social care services.
"Because, armed with the right information, patients themselves will drive up standards in the NHS - as they vote with their feet for the services which are succeeding.
"Because I simply don't believe that if there was more information about the quality of care, the scandalous failings that took place in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells and then at Mid Staffordshire, could have gone unchallenged for so long."
Mr Lansley said the Government had already started to publish weekly MRSA and C-difficile data.
"That is why I can today announce that, from next year, we will extend surveillance of hospital-acquired infections even further because patients must expect to be kept safe from harm in hospital," he said.
Mr Lansley also emphaised the need for local communities, rather than central government, to be taking the lead in health care.
He announced a £70 million cash cash boost to primary care trusts (PCTs) to enable them to support people back into their homes after a spell in hospital.
It is expected 35,000 people will benefit from the "re-ablement" packages that will give people leaving hospital help and support at home for six weeks.
The additional funding, which has come from savings from central Deparment of Health budgets, could be spent on adapting the home or on providing daily visits and support.
The PCTs will get the money from November and have to spend it this financial year.
"Too many patients don't get the seamless effective service they should when they leave hospital," said Mr Lansley. "They leave an environment in which they have been cared for aroudn the clock to go home, with no help.
"They often end up back in hospital because they haven't had help in readjusting to life at home.
"In fact we've seen a 50% increase in the number of emergency readmissions in the ten years from 1998. We need to do more to prevent this from happening."