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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round-up of NHS and healthcare stories.

NHS reveals disciplinary procedures

The NHS has drawn up new disciplinary procedures in an effort to cut the multi-million pound salary bill of suspended NHS staff. The procedures, which will be part of the first national disciplinary framework for NHS medical and dental staff, will aim to see cases completed quickly and fairly. Where possible, cases going to a hearing will be resolved within 13 weeks rather than the current target of 32 weeks and poor performing doctors will be retrained and returned to safe practice.

Pilot bonus scheme success

Doctors and clinicians who take on extra NHS work will receive bonus payments as part of a new scheme announced by the Department of Health (DoH). The Fee for Service scheme will see staff receiving bonus payments for carrying out extra operations or treatments on top of their normal workload. A pilot version of the scheme conducted by the DoH across 32 Trusts resulted in NHS staff undertaking an extra 8,400 operations.

NHS to introduce sports injury doctors

Sports injury doctors could be introduced across the NHS next year following recommendations revealed in the government's Public Health White Paper. Doctors specialising in sports and exercise medicine will work in hospitals, schools and community groups, treating members of the public and professional sports stars. ìWe are committed to making sure that the public is not only fit, active and healthy, but has access to the right healthcare provision to support their lifestyle,î said Health Secretary, John Reid.

Conservatives reveal health manifesto

The Conservative Party has been criticised for revealing proposals in its health manifesto that would allow patients to take half the cost of their NHS operation and use it to subsidise treatment in the private sector. Shadow Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, admitted that the plans could cost as much as £1.2bn if patients took up the offer, but that it was essential for the Conservatives to fulfil its pledge to ìmake waiting lists as we know them a thing of the pastî. The manifesto also aims to tackle hospital infections, increase NHS spending by £34bn a year and ìbring back matronî.

Mental health smoking ban 'wrong'

Mental health hospitals should not adopt the smoking ban planned for all NHS hospitals by 2006, mental health workers have warned. Official guidance released last month said that all hospitals should become smoke-free by the next year, but nurses and campaigners have argued that a ban in mental health hospitals would be unwise as ìit may be appropriate for mental health patients to be allowed to smoke at timesî. Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of Sane, commented: ìWe would urge mental health hospitals not to adopt a blanket ban.î

30th September 2008

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