Better nurse management needed - DoH writes off capital charge discrepancies -no payout for non-haemophiliacs -AMA funding fury - Row over PM's role in Papworth decision

Published: 06/12/2001, Volume III, No. 5784 Page 10

Better management of nursing services could save the NHS£125m a year, enough to pay for an extra 6,700 qualified nurses to cover shortages which mean many hospitals are failing to fulfil their duties under the Patient's Charter. This is the conclusion of an Audit Commission report which recommends all trusts include heads of nursing services on their management boards.

Massive discrepancies in the estimates of capital charges, introduced under the NHS internal market reforms, have forced the Department of Health effectively to write off the first year of the system as purely a paper exercise. One finance expert compared the decision to the shambles over the poll tax, while another described the first year of capital charges as 'a total non-event'.

The government will not compensate nonhaemophiliac patients who contracted HIV through blood transfusions, health minister Virginia Bottomley has said. The government had made an exception for haemophiliac patients because they were a 'very special case'.

Funds allocated to local government for personal social services have been condemned as grossly inadequate by the Association of Metropolitan Authorities. Using the local government inflation index, the rise is 1. 9 per cent. The AMA says local authorities will have to cut social services at a time of increasing demand.

East Anglian regional health authority has been accused of postponing a decision on Papworth Hospital's future to save prime minister John Major pre-election embarrassment. Mr Major's constituency agent confirmed he had taken a 'keen interest' in the hospital's future, but though he had passed on constituents'objections to the Department of Health he had decided not to intervene.