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NHS News in brief

Our weekly round of NHS and healthcare stories

Nurses and pharmacists get greater prescribing powers
A move designed to give nurses and pharmacists greater prescribing power comes into effect this week. The measures mean both professions will be able to prescribe treatments for more serious conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. ìNurse and pharmacist prescribing is a huge step forward in improving patient accessibility to medicines from highly skilled and well trained staff,î said health secretary, Patricia Hewitt. The British Medical Association (BMA) said it had relaxed its opposition to the changes, because of the ìstringentî lines of accountability and training being introduced. BMA chairman, Jim Johnson said: ìThe BMA believes that there is not a problem with nurses who prescribe under these strict criteria.î

Mental health services hit by NHS financial crisis, say Tories
Mental health services have been badly hit by the financial deficits problem that has been plaguing NHS trusts, according to Conservative MPs. The Tories said over a half of the NHS trusts running mental health services have had to close wards despite none of them running up a deficit. Shadow health minister, Tim Loughton, said 58 per cent of trusts had had to close wards, while 80 per cent had introduced recruitment freezes. ìMany of these trusts are having to sacrifice parts of their budget when they already had to shelve plans for further mental health provision in an effort to balance their books in the first place,î he said. Health minister, Rosie Winterton, responded by saying ìthere is no evidence to suggest mental health services are being disproportionately affectedî.

30th September 2008

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