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Nhs: Medical Secretaries

Volume 670: debated on Thursday 10 March 2005

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What advice they give to managers in National Health Service hospitals concerning the appropriate level of secretarial support and assistance provided to consultants to ensure that letters about patients are received by general practitioners within two weeks of a consultation. [HL1530]

It is for National Health Service employers to determine their local workforce priorities and to recruit staff accordingly. This includes the provision of secretarial support to both medical consultants and general practitioners.The modernisation agency's accelerated development programme for medical secretaries has helped to support this process through the development of new roles and improved career structures. Those trusts which piloted the programme found that it freed up doctors' time for clinical work, improved the recruitment and retention of medical secretaries and reduced waiting times for patients, including the time taken for patients to receive letters. A summary of the programme and advice to NHS employers on implementing role design is available at www.modern.nhs.uk/cwp.