The NHS must comply with NICE guidance on new drugs and treatments or explain to patients why there is a delay, under a DH scheme to be implemented 'by the autumn'.
Currently, some parts of the NHS delay new treatments while others make them immediately available.
The regime includes publication of an 'innovation scorecard' allowing patients to see which organisations are quickly adopting new NICE-approved drugs and treatments. The latest treatments will also be added automatically to lists of drugs available in local areas, making them available for clinicians to prescribe. A new group to help local NHS organisations implement NICE guidelines will also be established.