Published: 20/12/2001, Volume III, No. 5786 Page 6

A 'dedicated'workforce at Bury Health Care trust is 'stretched to the limit', according to the Commission for Health Improvement. In its clinical governance review, CHI said staffing levels were safe, but the trust needed to develop a system with staff to agree levels which reflected 'best patient care'.CHI found some examples of good practice, in particular in involving patients in planning care, but criticised the lack of coordinated strategy and called for improved communications.

Chief medical officer Professor Liam Donaldson has written to all trusts asking them to consult the National Clinical Assessment Authority when there are serious concerns about a doctor's performance which could lead to their suspension.Trusts are asked to seek the advice of the authority before suspending, but Professor Donaldson stressed: 'If there is a danger to patients, and suspension is the only way to ensure safety, then you should take immediate action to suspend.'

New government regulations intended to provide better protection for patients may contravene GPs' rights under the European Convention of Human Rights, according to the British Medical Association.The regulations, which came into force last week, give health authorities the power to remove doctors from their GP lists without having to supply evidence to support their case.

In 'Way to go' (news focus, pages 12-13, 13 December) we said that for the first time, cancer networks would be holding their own budgets and commissioning services across their own geographical area. In fact, the£76m has been allocated to health authorities and planning guidance requires HAs 'to work together across NHS organisations, through cancer networks', in order to deliver the cancer programme in line with local cancer network board priorities identified in service delivery plans.