Spekaing to ITV News, NHS England's new boss Simon Stevens has admitted that standards have not been good enough within the organisation.
The new NHS boss may want to make cuts to tackle a £30 billion shortfall, but could face a fight with a General Election approaching.
A vaccine against meningitis B will be introduced on the NHS for babies from two months of age if costs can be agreed with the manufacturer.
While steps have been taken to reduce infection rates of hospital bugs such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, other infection rates are still too high, the Nice said.
A spokeswoman said doctors and nurses must "redouble" hygiene efforts to bring the rates down.
– Professor Gillian Leng
It is unacceptable that infection rates are still so high within the NHS. Infections are a costly and avoidable burden. They hinder a patient's recovery, can make underlying conditions worse, and reduce quality of life.
Although there have been major improvements within the NHS in infection control, particularly in relation to Clostridium difficile and MRSA bloodstream infections in the last few years, healthcare associated infections are still a very real threat to patients, their families and carers and staff.
One in 16 people receiving NHS care are picking up infections, health officials have warned.
The National Institute for Health Care Excellence (Nice) says he level of infections are "unacceptably high" and are a "very real threat" to patients.
Every year around 300,000 people get an infection while being cared for by the health service in England.The most common type of infections include pneumonia, lower respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections.
These infections can occur in otherwise healthy people, especially if invasive procedures or devices like catheters or vascular access devices, are used, Nice said.
The Prime Minister has added to his bid to extend GP hours with plans to enhance care services for the elderly.
David Cameron said that around 800,000 people over the age of 75 and those with more serious health complaints will get tailored care, coordinated by just one local GP.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the move is "one of the biggest changes that we need to make in our NHS".
– Jeremy Hunt
I want to make sure this is completely coordinated to head off problems and keep people from going to hospital unnecessarily.
David Cameron's extensions to GP hours have been praised by NHS England, but a British Medical Association committee chair has said the changes must be properly supported.
NHS England CEO Simon Stevens said the initiative could also free up time for GPs to spend with their sickest patients, giving it "the potential to be a win-win-win for patients, their doctors and the NHS".
But Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association's General Practice Committee, said a more holistic approach was needed "so that community, social and urgent care work in tandem".
He also said ministers must "deliver on their commitment to increase resources in the community," so that GPs can be properly supported.
More than 7.5 million people will be able to see their GP outside work hours, David Cameron has announced.
The Prime Minister said that extended opening times, video-phone services, email and phone would all contribute to the increased access.
Although it was originally thought that only half a million people would benefit, the £50 million GP Access Fund will now affect over 1,000 practices across England.
Mr Cameron said that since announcing in October that he wanted to help make appointments more flexible, there had been "a great response from doctors, with lots of innovative ideas".
The Welsh Government said they "expect waiting times for diagnostic tests to come down" after NHS statistics showed Wales was the worst-performing country in the UK in that area.
– Welsh Government spokeswoman
Despite the pressures on the NHS, access to diagnostic tests is improving.
However, the health minister Mark Drakeford acknowledges waits are still too long in some cases, and last month announced £5 million of new funding to help the NHS reduce waiting times for those scans and tests where there are particular challenges.
Speeding up access to these tests will mean that patients get the results faster and can start their full treatment sooner. We expect waiting times for diagnostic tests to come down.
Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru health spokeswoman, said the figures showing that Wales has high waiting list times for life-saving tests highlighted "the stark reality of Labour's mismanagement of the NHS".
– Plaid Cymru health spokeswoman and Ceredigion Assembly Member Elin Jones
The Health Minister needs to take emergency action to bring down these waiting lists and help the thousands of people who are in limbo as they await a diagnosis. We need to make sure that the diagnostic machines are staffed for longer so that they can be used to their capacity.
This will need extra funding, but failure to do so would be condemning patients to wait even longer for basic tests.
Plaid Cymru has long advocated better planning within the NHS so we can plan ahead for the future workforce, keep waiting lists down and make the Welsh NHS the efficient service that it can be.
NHS statistics which show that Wales has the worst waiting times for life-saving tests in the UK are "the most disturbing" health figures seen "in many years", a doctor said.
Carmarthen-based doctor Dewi Evans, who has been working in the health service since 1971, said early diagnostic tests were important because they could be a matter of life and death.
The checks - such as MRI scans and cystoscopies - can be used by medics to check whether a person has cancer.
– Dr Dewi Evans
These investigations are the mainstay of early and accurate diagnoses of life-threatening conditions.
In terms of significance, these are the most disturbing NHS statistics I have seen in many years. Diagnostic tests are one of the most important parts of the health service.
Wales has the worst waiting times record for life-saving tests in the UK, according to new figures.
Around 42% of people in Wales waiting for diagnostic tests had to wait more than six weeks before they were finally seen, according to government statistics.
This compares with 1.8% in England and 3.8% in Scotland.
And the statistics also show 16.6% of patients on the Welsh diagnostic waiting list wait longer than 12 weeks.
In Northern Ireland, 15.5% on the list had to wait more than nine weeks.
The chair of the British Medical Association said many of the criticisms made by one of Britain's most senior doctors will ring true with NHS workers.
Dr Mark Porter said:
Many of Sir Richard’s comments will be recognised by those working in the NHS. Doctors are working harder than ever before as all NHS services come under enormous pressure from a combination of rising workload, falling resources and staff shortages in key specialities.
The Government continues to claim that the health budget is being protected, yet in reality billions of pounds are being clawed back by the Treasury each year, while the target of reducing the budget by £20 billion has so far been done on the backs of NHS staff through year-on-year pay cuts and without any sustainable plan from the Government.