Body proposed to regulate healthcare professionals Modernising Regulation in the Health Professions.DoH. www. doh. gov. uk/modernisingregulation The government has proposed a body to regulate all healthcare professionals, by overseeing the work of the existing regulatory bodies.The work of the Council for the Regulation of Health Care Professionals has been outlined in a consultation document issued last week to patient interest groups, and NHS and professional bodies.The body was first proposed in the NHS plan and was backed in the recently published Bristol Royal Infirmary report.The government is also consulting on the accountability of the existing bodies to the new council and through that to parliament.Responses to the consultation document must be received by 30 September.

Concerns grow over consultant vacancies in Wales Consultants are being included in workforce planning in Wales in a bid to deal with large numbers of vacancies, the Welsh Assembly has said.Both the British Medical Association and Welsh community health councils had this week expressed concern at the widespread use of locums to cover consultant vacancies.A BMA Wales spokesperson said:

'There is a shortage of consultants. It is been like that for some time, especially in radiology and histopathology, and there are lots of locums.He pointed to particular problems attracting consultants to small population centres in Wales, where 'you're a long way from teaching hospitals, There is not much kit and no colleagues'.But a Welsh Assembly spokesperson said 70 new consultants had been appointed or were in the process of being appointed at the end of March.

June sees waiting-list figures rise by 5,000 Latest waiting-list figures have climbed again, with the total waiting for treatment in England up 5,000 to 1,038,000 at the end of June compared with the end of May.Year on year, the total number waiting fell by 10,000.Many of the 356 patients waiting longer than 18 months for inpatient treatment are tonsillectomy patients, but the number waiting longer than a year also rose by 1,420 to 46,000.The most significant rise was in the number of people waiting longer than three months for their first outpatient appointment which rose by almost 27 per cent to more than 280,000.

Stop issuing prescriptions, think-tank tells GPs Doctors should stop issuing prescriptions in a bid to cut the alleged£4bn they waste each year by handing out the wrong medicines, according to a report by the Adam Smith Institute. In an article in Pharmaceutical Journal, it claims 'abysmal management'means the job should be transferred to trained pharmacists instead who would then look after the patient and check whether they are taking their medication properly.The report's author, Matthew Young, said:

'Patients get the wrong prescription, at the wrong dose and end up throwing the rest of their expensive medicines down the toilet.'

MS group to hold talks with DoH over NICE ruling The Multiple Sclerosis Society is to hold talks with the Department of Health over a provisional recommendation that two anti-MS drugs should not be funded by the NHS.The National Institute for Clinical Excellence made the announcement in the face of outrage from sufferers, campaign groups and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, who have been waiting two years for a ruling on beta inteferon and glatiramer acetate.

Chief executive of the Multiple Sclerosis Society Peter Cardy said he had put forward a proposal which would allow patients 'meeting the criteria for the drugs' to receive them while a rigorous scientific study is carried out on their effectiveness.