Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has reiterated his vision for a National Health Service that is patient-centred, focused on outcomes, innovation friendly and free from “half-baked” reforms.

According to Lansley, the core priorities are to create a health service that offers patient-centred care and empowers the Service, the professionals, and the front-line to make decisions and drive improvements to quality and efficiency.

“The NHS appears to have acted as a brake for change rather than an accelerator”, Lansley said, and stressed that the character of decision-making is going to change. “I want to provide freedom, responsibility and accountability so that clinicians don’t have to wait for permission to move from the thing that is targeted to something better”, he said.

“My view is clear, we have to strike a new balance of power in the service so that wherever possible, responsibility should lie with clinicians. I intend to provide leadership, strategy and direction – not command and control”.

Addressing the NHS Confederation’s annual conference in Liverpool last week, Lansley promised to publish a new white paper detailing his strategy for the NHS as early as possible to provide a sustainable framework within which to work and eliminate some of the widespread confusion surrounding his key policies.

The hotly-anticipated publication of the white paper may, however, might be kept waiting in the wings while the finer details of one of the most radical changes – a move to GP commissioning – are hammered out between the Department of Health and the Treasury.

Many questions have been raised over the proposals to hand over a huge bulk of commissioning, worth up to £80 billion, to GP-led consortia, and rumours suggest the Treasury is somewhat uncomfortable with giving so much power to what could, in some instances, be relatively inexperienced groups of commissioners, particular during a time of such financial hardship.

But Lansley stressed that as these organisations will be spending public money systems will be put in place “to ensure that more money isn’t spent that is in the pot”, and promised that accountability arrangements – not just for these commissioning hubs but for the entire Service – will be set out in the white paper.