Prime Minister Gordon Brown has outlined plans to give public service users new "entitlements", while promising a tougher NHS performance management regime and massive efficiency savings.

Building Britain’s Future says the NHS will be reformed by moving from a system primarily based on targets and central direction to one in which individuals have "enforceable" entitlements over the service they receive.

The heavily trailed document outlines six new entitlements, including giving patients a legal right to hospital care within 18 weeks, free check-ups for people aged 40-74, and guaranteed access to a cancer specialist within two weeks.

However, it also says these will be defended by effective government intervention in the form of a tough new NHS performance regime to identify underperforming services and provide a framework for intervention, supporting recovery and tackling failure.

In a speech to the Commons, Brown also reiterated that an additional £35 billion of savings needed to be made in order to help fund the government’s key priorities. He said the Treasury’s Operational Efficiency Programme has identified £9 billion savings from 2011-12, "over and above the £35 billion commitment.”

Building Britain’s Future says: “These will be delivered through value-for-money measures in support services such as IT and procurement, but also by ensuring our public servants have the right incentives to reduce waste and bureaucracy.”

The document also encourages more clinical leadership and a further diversification of NHS providers, with support for staff to set up social enterprises to run primary care trust provider services.

Conservative party leader David Cameron made a speech last week setting out his own party’s plans for giving the public more influence over the services they receive.

These include making more information available about NHS performance. Cameron dismissed the Brown document as: “a package with no price tag.”

Link: Building Britain’s Future