Published: 22/04/2002, Volume II4, No. 5902 Page 6

The government plans to extend nurses' prescribing rights to support the treatment of patients in emergency situations.Health minister John Hutton launched the proposals last week, outlining conditions that would widen the prescribing capabilities of 2,000 nurses to include conditions such as deep-vein thrombosis and meningitis.

www. dh. gov. uk

Department of Health communications with the service will be pared down and distributed once a month, to support moves towards 'less central control'. From next month, hard copy and electronic communications will be reduced, although the DoH website and certain documents from ministers and chief officers will remain unaffected.

www. dh. gov. uk

The British Medical Association chair has called for lay 'navigators' to help guide patients through choice in the NHS.Dr James Johnson told the association's junior members' forum: 'Everyone is in favour of choice, but it has to be meaningful, wellinformed and available to all our patients.'

www. bma. org

The Alliance of UK Health Regulators has called on the European Commission to reveal which of the 10 new countries joining the EU on 1 May has training standards for health workers that equate with those in the UK.The commission has been criticised for not properly auditing the new entrants' training and regulatory systems.

www. aure. org. uk

The Healthcare Commission has said it will not publish an 'X-rating' in this summer's star-ratings for mental health estates whose buildings should be relocated or knocked down (news, pages 8-9,15 April).The commission will use the assessments carried out by NHS Estates, which assess trusts'physical environment and can employ an X-rating.But the star-ratings themselves will only spell out the percentage of occupied floor area of a trust's estate which falls below a satisfactory standard.