NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens chose Aldershot Centre for Health to unveil a two-year blueprint to boost cancer care, improve access to GPs and slash A&E waiting times.
Mr Stevens launched his NHS delivery plan in front of journalists, healthcare professionals and members of the public at the Hospital Hill site on Friday (March 31).
In the delivery plan, he sets out the way in which providers of NHS care must overhaul their working practices, despite the unprecedented pressures they are facing and the service having less money than he believes it needs to do its job properly.
The changes include creating an England-wide network of about 150 urgent treatment centres to take the strain off overcrowded A&E units.
NHS England is also pledging to put 3,250 extra GPs, plus 1,300 clinical pharmacists and 1,500 more mental health therapists, into GP surgeries by 2019.
Hospitals and local councils will work together to cut the number of patients stuck in hospital in a bid to free up 2,000 to 3,000 hospital beds, while early diagnosis of cancer should be improved through the creation of 10 regional rapid diagnostic and assessment centres.
The aim is to ensure that by 2020 every cancer patient is diagnosed within 28 days and, it is hoped, ensure that an extra 5,000 people survive their cancer over the next two years. A £130m expansion of precision radiotherapy will see 42 hospitals acquire or upgrade their equipment to achieve this.
The number of A&E units with mental health specialists on duty 24/7 should rise fivefold to 74 by 2019, and there will also be new dedicated mental health services for traumatised military veterans.
'You guys are getting it right'
Mr Stevens said it was "a pleasure" to be in Aldershot to launch the new plan.
“We’re here in Aldershot because you guys are getting it right,” he told staff.
“We want to implement the changes that have been introduced here across the country.
“Much of the work that many of you are doing is proof that practical improvements can be bought about.”
Maggie MacIsaac, chief officer for NHS North East Hampshire & Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are absolutely delighted Simon Stevens chose to come down to our patch. It’s recognition we are doing the right things.
“We are extremely proud of all our dedicated staff who are working together to deliver better joined up care for those that need it.
“It’s all about people working across organisational boundaries.
“It’s really heartening to see the plans come together.”
Aldershot GP Peter Bibawy said he was “humbled” Mr Stevens chose Aldershot to launch the NHS delivery plan.
“We’ve already seen some improvements in mental health provision locally,” he added.
“It’s not a top down approach. It’s about listening to local communities.”