Headlines: September 14th, 2001

A further 124 nurse consultant posts are to be created to supplement the 446 established in the last year. These additional top grade posts will allow nurses to stay on the wards and in the community looking after patients. They will also help to retain the most experienced and expert nurses, midwives and health visitors in the NHS and support the break down of barriers between clinical professionals.The new consultants, who will be paid up to 45,000 pounds, will work in mental health, midwifery, cancer care, dermatology, elderly care, critical care, children’s services and diabetes. They will also work in outpatients’ clinics and walk-in centres.

The consultants will spend a minimum of 50 per cent of their time working directly with patients, ensuring that people using the NHS continue to benefit from the best nursing and midwifery skills. In addition, they will be responsible for developing professional practice, being involved in research and evaluation and contributing to education, training and development.

The NHS Plan promised 1,000 of these new posts by 2004. This latest tranche brings the total to over 570. The Department of Health plans to further expand the numbers of consultant posts this year and has invited another round of submissions in December.