The Conservative Party has revealed that it plans to remove "political interference" from the NHS if it is elected.
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley (pictured) unveiled the proposals as he launched a draft bill, the NHS (Autonomy and Accountability) Bill, which includes moves to create an independent board to which Department of Health (DH) responsibilities would be devolved.
Under the plans, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will be made independent and patients will be given a "stronger voice" through a new body, HealthWatch.
HealthWatch will work alongside the Healthcare Commission to promote the views of patients and will be tasked with helping to inform people about the creation of new policies.
In addition, the regulator Monitor will have economic powers and will promote competition and determine prices.
An NHS Constitution will also be enshrined in legislation, setting out the principles that should govern the health service.
Mr Lansley said: "The NHS is being held back by top-down targets and suffocating bureaucracy.
"We have to free up doctors and nurses and those who deliver care for patients. We need to give patients more choice and voice over their healthcare.
"The Bill we are publishing creates freedom from day-to-day interference and political tinkering.
"It pushes powers out into the NHS, meaning fairer allocation of money.
"Labour talk about a constitution for the NHS but only the Conservative Party has done the necessary work to deliver it."