NHS patients should have named staff accountable for their care while they are in hospital; new guidance has recommended.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described the recommendations, published by The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges as a "huge step forward for patient safety".
The guidance recommended that every patient must know the name of their Responsible Consultant/Clinician, with overall responsibility for their care.
Patienets should also be told who is directly available to provide information about their care - the named Nurse.
The guidance said: "The Responsible Consultant/Clinician is an individual named consultant/clinician who has responsibility for the overall management, continuity and delivery of all care to a patient throughout their hospital stay.
"Wherever if possible, the Responsible Consultant/Clinician should remain the same for the duration of a patient's hospital stay. There may be occasions when it is clinically appropriate that the role is formally transferred to another consultant with the documented agreement of all parties."
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges had been asked by the Secretary of State, to examine how recommendations, set out in the Francis Inquiry Report could be implemented.
The Frances Inquiry report, published last year, examined the causes of failings in care at a Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between 2005-2009 and called for greater transparency and care standards.
It consulted on the need for there to be a named clinician accountable for a patient's care for the duration of their hospital stay.
In addition, Hunt has supported the concept of having an accountable consultant and nurse with their "name over the bed".
Following discussions with the Academy's member medical Royal Colleges, other professional bodies, professional regulators and employers, the short guidance was produced.
The guidance also said this concept was about "both accountability of clinicians and communication with patients and families."
The guidance concluded, while the responsible consultant or clinician may not be "individually accountable" for the delivery of every aspect of a patient's care, he/she is a person to whom a patient or a relative/career can address concerns throughout their stay.