An attempt to reduce the error rate among pharmacists and encouraging them to report mistakes will become the cornerstone of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's NHS reform programme.
The new NHS Commissioning Board will have the final say on pharmacy funding the minister has revealed.
A five-part NHS Outcomes Framework that includes a pledge to protect patients from avoidable harm, will be used to assess the board.
A reduction in the number of incidents reported will make up one of the three key targets on patient safety.
The second of the three targets will be to reduce the severity of harm caused by incidents.
Reducing the number of similar incidents will be the final of the three targets.
An open culture on reporting mistakes will be established by the board.
The government published the proposals in a consultation on delivering a more accountable NHS.
The consultation stated: "Organisations must be able to learn from incident reports and make tangible changes that improve safety and the public's confidence."
Preventing premature death is a target of the full NHS Outcomes Framework, as is protecting patients from avoidable harm, ensuring people have a positive experience of care, helping patients to recover from ill health and injury and boosting the quality of life for chronic condition sufferers.
Copyright © Press Association 2010
"A reduction in the number of incidents reported ... this sends a message that reporting is not good so reporting will go down. That does not mean incidents will not happen, it will just create a non-learning blame culture" – Dee Gray, Wales
"Yes I do support an open culture for reporting mistakes BUT it's also about true lessons learnt from serious incidents and this is not happening" – Bev Hurst, Wigan