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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round of NHS and healthcare stories

Overseas doctors face discrimination, says BMA

Some hospital trusts are exploiting overseas doctors by employing them in non-standard local posts and paying them less than those on national contracts, according to the chairman of the British Medical Association. Speaking to over 200 doctors in Cardiff, James Johnson said there was widespread discrimination against the UK's 12,500 staff and associate specialist (SAS) doctors, the majority of which come from overseas. ìThis state of affairs is a licence for exploitation which cannot be allowed to continue,î he said. The Commission for Racial Equality recently said that SAS doctors are not promoted to the highest level because of their race.

Foundation Trusts make a 'sound start'

NHS foundation trusts have on the whole strengthened their finances, improved governance and increased local engagement in their first full year of operation, says the first annual report by the independent NHS trust regulator, Monitor. The report contains a consolidation of NHS foundation trusts' audited accounts for the year 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005 and a review of their operation. ìThere is sound evidence already that [foundation trusts] are using their operational and financial freedoms to improve their services,î said Monitor executive chairman, William Moyes.

We should be proud of vaccinations, says Hewitt

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt has said that the country should be ìproudî of vaccinating more people than have ever been vaccinated against flu before. ìThere are very few European countries that vaccinate anything like the number of people we do,î she told the BBC. Last week she announced that she would be reviewing the process by which yearly winter flu jabs are ordered after a surge in demand meant some people might not be vaccinated until after Christmas. Liberal Democrat shadow health secretary Steve Webb described the government's response as ìnot good enoughî. ìPromising extra supplies in January will leave frail elderly people at risk over the next two months,î he said.

30th September 2008

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