In a UK first, NHS England has launched an @NHS twitter account that will each week be controlled by a different patient or member of staff, in a pioneering new initiative designed to "lift the lid" on the service through voices on the frontline.

The three-month pilot scheme aims to tap into the experiences of users and providers of NHS care and channel their stories "far and wide," handing over sole control of the account to @NHS curators so that they can share their thoughts and opinions with anyone on Twitter.

The first is Richard Orchard, current non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer patient at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust.

He said: "It's been an eventful time in my life being diagnosed with non-hodgkin's lymphoma and I'm looking forward to sharing my journey with others for the week - with all its highs and lows! I hope some of my experiences with strike a chord with fellow cancer patients, to let them know they're not alone in this."

Also commenting on the move, Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, said it is a "fantastic opportunity for our much valued patients and NHS staff to hold a magnifying glass up to the system, so we can learn from their experiences, as we continue with our ambition to improve the way that care is delivered".

The NHS is partnering with Twitter on the initiative, which has pledged to promote the @NHS account to its 15 million users in the UK.