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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round-up of NHS and healthcare stories

RCN attacks move to stem foreign nurses
Government ministers say the UK should no longer recruit junior nurses from abroad, sparking furious criticism from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The role is being taken off the Home Office shortage occupation list, as ministers say an expanded training programme and better conditions have strengthened the supply of nurses.

ìThe aim of the NHS has always been to look towards home-grown staff in the first instance and have a diverse workforce that reflects local communities,î said health minister, Lord Warner.

However, the RCN warned that the move would make it impossible to replace retiring nurses with applicants from the UK alone, and accused the government of making international nurses a scapegoat for the current financial crisis in the NHS.

NHS trust payment row
An NHS foundation hospital trust is turning patients away because it claims it is owed £6.3m by the local primary care trust (PCT) for patients it treated last year.

The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Trust said up to 1,800 patients would not receive the in-patient or day care treatment they require. Bournemouth PCT attacked the hospital trust for ìirresponsibleî behaviour, saying it would have to send non-urgent cases elsewhere.

Bournemouth PCT said that if it were to pay the disputed £6.3m, it would have to make cuts in services within both primary and secondary care in order to achieve financial balance.

New Bupa deal
Bupa Hospitals has been named as the preferred provider for another privately run NHS treatment centre.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bupa is to supply 6,000 surgical procedures for patients in Cheshire and Merseyside. Last month, it sealed a deal to provide services through an independent treatment centre in the north-east.

Health unions are becoming increasingly critical of the growing role of the private sector in supplying NHS services.

30th September 2008

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