The best National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in the UK could soon be awarded gold standard status to introduce competition in the sector, according to new government plans.

The proposed accreditation plan for particular areas of care such as cancer, maternity and cardiac arrests would induce healthy competition nationally and internationally, the country’s Health Minister Lord Darzi said.

The voluntary accreditation system would acknowledge the best-performing NHS hospitals and compare them with the best in Europe and the US, Darzi said in an interview with The Times.

The grading would involve evaluation by a panel and peer review, while the medical Royal Colleges and other professional and regulatory bodies would provide input, The Telegraph reports.