Tory leader David Cameron has vowed to let patients choose their GPs, as he announced a raft of measures designed to make the Conservatives "the party of the NHS".
Under the proposals, he said that people should be given a choice of GP, and be able to choose which hospital they use for further treatment.
And he also confirmed plans to dock payments to hospitals if patients contract infections such as the MRSA superbug during their treatment.
Mr Cameron said: "The best way to enhance the power of patients is through the mechanism of choice.
"Quite simply, the option of gaining or losing patients is the most effective spur to improvement on the part of doctors, hospitals and other care providers.
"So we will give people a choice of GP. We will allow patients to choose, in consultation with their GP, where they get their secondary care.
"And we will ensure that hospitals and clinics and other care providers are paid according to the results they achieve.
"I don't think hospitals should be paid – or paid in full – for a treatment which leaves the patient with a hospital-acquired infection like MRSA.
"So-called 'treatment following adverse events' should be the responsibility of the provider, not the purchaser – the hospital, not the GP or primary care commissioner.
"GPs can spend the money that they save in this way to improve care elsewhere."
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Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"I work in general practice. Patients are already given the choice of what hospital they want to attend. We are paid by what targets we achieve. I do agree that hospitals should carry the cost of treating patients following adverse events and should be financially penalised for hospital acquired infections. £18m could be saved if the patient survey was scrapped, perhaps you could add this to your manifesto as this money could be better spent elsewhere on acutal care. Get rid of Tony Blair's 'baby' NHS Direct and redirect the money to general practice where we will do a far better job. Get rid of Aetna, they are too expensive and only duplicate work already being done, this would save millions. Start charging immigrants for medical treatment and have clear policies for general practice and secondary care, make them pay before treatment so that they cannot go home without paying. Anyone coming to this country should have to take out insurance to cover their healthcare, including international university students. Just a few ideas that would save this country millions of pounds which could be put to better use ie, the care of patients" – Elaine Allington, Birmingham