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Hospital Healthcare Europe

Health staff to be given new roles

8 May, 2008  

Health assistants in UK hospitals may be required to perform more routine tasks to free up the time of medical staff.

Clinical procedures, such as injections and blood-pressure tests, will still be done by nurses and doctors, under proposals made by the Health Minister Edwina Hart.

However, support workers and assistant practitioners, such as those in radiography and speech therapy, may be given tasks that do not require a doctor.

Four NHS bodies will take part in a trial recommended in a report on staff training.

Ms Hart said the changes would take pressure off specialists by cutting out some of their less complex jobs.

“There has been a 33% increase in staff working for the NHS since 1997, but it is unsustainable to plan, train and recruit that level of increase in the future,” she said.

“Therefore we need to look at how we change things and over what period so that we continue to provide high-quality care for patients.”

She added: “We are fortunate to have a highly qualified and educated workforce. However, there are some staff that have had fewer opportunities to access education and training in the past.

“So to ensure we continue to attract and retain staff, we must provide more opportunities for career development for all staff.”

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