Published: 13/05/2004, Volume II4, No. 5905 Page 6

A report by the Royal College of Physicians has called for acute medicine to be made a specialty in its own right, and recommends that a network of advisers be set up to develop it 'as a matter of urgency'.The report proposes that by 2008 all acute trusts should have a dedicated area for acutely ill patients with appropriately trained staff and at least three consultants with primary responsibility for acute medicine.

www. rcplondon. ac. uk/pubs/books/ AcuteMedicine/index. htm

The Department of Health has announced a further set of questions as part of the 'Choosing Health?' consultation ahead of the public health white paper.The questions focus on how to improve food and fitness.

www. dh. gov. uk

The Audit Commission's national fraud initiative has detected£83m worth of fraud across the public sector in the year ending March 2003.The data-matching exercise, which has been running since 1996, included all NHS bodies for the first time this year. It discovered that more than 260 NHS employees were involved in housing benefit fraud.

www. audit-commission. gov. uk

A Royal College of Nursing survey has found that less than a third nurses questioned thought that investment in permanent nursing staff had increased.However, more than half recognised that more cash had been put into the NHS, although they called on the government to consult RCN members more widely about how money should be targeted.

www. rcn. org. uk

Health secretary John Reid has announced proposals that could see more health professionals being allowed to prescribe.The proposals recommend that physiotherapists, radiographers, chiropodists and optometrists should be able to prescribe medicines, in partnership with a doctor, to help treat and manage conditions such as glaucoma and chronic back pain.

www. dh. gov. uk