Headlines: April 7th, 2000

Nurses have welcomed a piece of NHS modernisation which will see them controlling the budgets for their wards.

As well as doubling the number of nurse consultants, announced earlier this week, the Secretary of State plans to see ward sisters and charge nurses who run their own wards take charge of their own capital budgets. Nationally, this is worth fifty million pounds a year.

There’s also further money to train more nurses to prescribe, and to attend ‘ward leader’ training programmes.

The RCN, whose conference is this week, say management of ward budgets is one of the key measures nurses have been calling for.

Nurses working in new Modernisation Action Teams, drawing up a new national plan for the NHS (see Publicnet April 5) include Gill Brook, Birmingham Children’s Hospital; Angela Muchatuta, a Trust nurse executive from Bedfordshire; Janet Saunders, a ward sister in elderly care, Bath; Lance Gardner, leading a nurse PMS pilot in Salford.

Alan Milburn’s attendance at the RCN conference was also notable for a strong hint that he was now ready to attempt to tackle the problem of funding long-term nursing care for older people as part of spending plans for the NHS.