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Brown pledges more power for nurses

Gordon Brown has pledged to give nurses more power after claiming the NHS will be his "first priority" when he takes over as Prime Minister.

Mr Brown also said he wants to "move forward" on areas such as tackling MRSA, adding the NHS must "do better".

"It is obviously a great honour but it is a great challenge, and the health service is going to be my first priority," he told GMTV when asked about his feelings about becoming Prime Minister.

"So I am going to get down to work on that very quickly."

Asked about red tape in the NHS, Mr Brown said: "That is why we want to get more power down to the local hospital, more say for the patient, more say for the nurse and doctor in getting on with the job.

"I think we will be able to set out over the next few weeks measures that we can take to make the health service better."

His remarks come after hecklers attacked him as he addressed a union conference about pay rises for nurses in the NHS.

Some delegates shouted "rubbish" at the Amicus event due to a row over a staggered 2.5% pay award that has led to the threat of strikes.

An independent pay review body has recommended a 2.5% rise for NHS workers, but the government ruled it should be paid in two stages, which unions claim has reduced it to a 1.9% hike.


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"The new role of GP Assistant should be made available to those experienced nurses who are willing to take on this role within Primary Care" - V Henry

"Unlikely, we are being made scapegoats for Trusts' financial problems, and many claim money back for their coffers by charging us to come to work! I work in the community but my office is in our local hospital. What other profession would put up with this? Teachers, police, social workers, none of these have to pay to work" -  Elaine Pittam, Rugby

"Registered nurses should be allowed to practice as Nurse Practitioners and should get reimbursed directly. Clinical practice guidelines and evidence-based practice insure a level standard by which nursing practice can be measured and which should be used to monitor the effectiveness of this much needed practitioner. It will lower the cost of health care, provide immediate access for patients, especially those with chronic disease, and when used to prevent disease through appropriate health and physical examination and preventive education, will produce not only healthy and happy citizens, but will also reduce the cost of health care substancially" -  Eleanor H. Borkowski, RN

"My name is Nancy Spector, I am the Director of Education at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing in the United States. I don't know as much about Gordon Brown as those of you in England do, but I think giving nurses more power in the health care system is an essential step forward, and it would be an inspiration for the U.S. if England were to take the lead on this. More and more reports from patient safety research and initiatives show that more collaboration and teamwork, which also means respect, across the professions, is needed to provide competent and safe patient care. In the U.S. medical errors are currently far too frequent, and much of this is due to lack of communication across the health care team" - Nancy Spector, USA

"I would be impressed if Mr Brown brought pressure to bear on GPs, many of whom are not giving nurses any kind of pay rise this year. This is in spite of record QOF payments - primarily down to Practice Nurses 'ticking the boxes' for the clinical activity, especially around long term conditions. The excuses from GPs about their income having been frozen just will not do!" - Name and address supplied