Hospitals should be fined for every patient who contracts an infection on a ward, Conservative leader David Cameron has said.
It comes as the Tories pledge to make the NHS a priority in 2008 as the service reaches its 60th anniversary.
Mr Cameron said: “It should be a basic rule of social policy that you don’t pay for what you don’t want more of.
“Money should attend success, not failure. So, for instance, 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.”
Any cash saved this way will then be used to fund better services, he added.
“This is a means of hard-wiring infection control into the system.
“Rather than a top-down system of targets which encourages ‘throughput’ above all else, we propose a bottom-up system which prioritises quality as well as quantity.
“This will make managers concentrate on the effectiveness, not just the volume of treatment.”
But Health Secretary Alan Johnson said the plans are already before Parliament.
“The Tories have no new ideas for tackling hospital associated infections. We are already taking powers to fine poor performing hospitals, with the pledge to reinvest that money back into the local NHS,” he said.
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