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EDITIONS
NHS reform Thursday, 27 July, 2000, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
NHS staff to become more 'flexible'
Doctors and Nurses
The NHS needs more doctors and nurses
A major recruitment drive is at the heart of the government's modernisation plans.

The national plan pledges to employ 7,500 more consultants, 2,000 more GPs, 20,000 more nurses and over 6,500 extra health professionals.

Nurses are to be given a wide range of additional responsibilities and will take on some of the work currently undertaken by doctors.

As part of the plan, they will be allowed to prescribe certain medicines and treatments.

They will be able to order diagnostic tests, make and receive referrals and admit and discharge patients from hospital.

Nurses will also be asked to run more clinics, treating patients with diabetes and rheumatology and eye and skin disorders.

A total of 1,000 nurse consultants will be employed to take on much more clinical responsibility.

"Modern matrons" will be responsbile for tackling clinical issues, such as discharge delays and poor cleanliness.

They will be in charge of a group of wards and will "be easily identifiable" to patients.

Main changes
9,500 more doctors
20,000 more nurses
6,500 extra health professionals
1,000 GPs to provide specialist services
GPs Newly-qualified consultants to be required to work solely for the NHS
New roles for nurses, midwives and therapists
"Modern matrons" will tackle clinical issues

Doctors

Doctors also face significant changes. Newly-appointed consultants will be expected to work solely for the NHS for around seven years.

Consultants' contracts will be replaced with one the puts more emphasis on their responsibilities to the NHS.

They will be required to ensure that they spend more of their working week on NHS duties.

The plan hopes to free up GPs time by giving more responsibility to nurses and other primary care staff.

They will be encouraged to take up new contracts which will link their pay to the quality of care they deliver to patients.

Some 1,000 GPs will be recruited to provide specialist services and receive referrals from other GPs and relieve pressure on hospitals.

This will include treating skin, ear, nose and throat problems in general practice instead of hospitals.

GPs who work by themselves, as opposed to those working in group practices, will be forced to take on new contracts and will be required to meet new quality targets by 2004.

The Department of Health has pledged to publish statistics on the performance of every GP in England and to name and shame those that are failing to meet expected standards.

See also:

05 Apr 00 | Health
04 Apr 00 | Health
15 Mar 00 | Health
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