Published: 18/04/2002, Volume II2, No. 5801 Page 6

Three-quarters of nurses believe the NHS is no longer safe in Labour's hands, according to a survey published this week by Nursing Times.

Just over half said that if they had their time again they would not enter the profession, and three-quarters would not encourage their children to do so.But 40 per cent said nursing had become more professional.

www. nursingtimes. net More than 200 people were stabbed by discarded needles in the UK last year, according to research by the Keep Britain Tidy campaign.The report, which got a response from over half of local authorities surveyed, found that more than 20,000 used needles were found littering public places.

www. encams. org The Health Professions Council was due to be formally launched yesterday by health minister John Hutton.The council replaces the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine.The body will be UK-wide and will work to the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine until the Privy Council publishes its rules in April 2003.

A visit by prime minister Tony Blair to a hospital in health secretary Alan Milburn's constituency has been overshadowed by criticism from its current and former staff.During the visit to Darlington Memorial Hospital last Friday, consultant urologist Simon Fulford pointed out that he was working on his day off.Howard Rutherford, an orthopaedic surgeon, then wrote to the Sunday Telegraph to say he had left the hospital to become medical director of a private hospital because he lost patience with pressure to meet 'unrealistic targets'which distorted clinical priorities.A reply from John Saxby, chief executive of South Durham Healthcare trust, which runs the hospital, stressed that patients requiring urgent attention would always be given priority treatment.