HC Deb 25 March 2004 vol 419 cc1064-5W
Mr. Bruce George

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what action his Department is taking to encourage the NHS to make wider use of non-consultant career grade doctors in dermatology; [161673]

(2) what action his Department is taking to reduce the number of non-consultant career grade redundancies in dermatology arising from the withdrawal of primary care trust funding. [161675]

Mr. Hutton

The Government are keen to maximise opportunities for doctors in the non-consultant career grades to utilise their skills to the full to the benefit of all. The Department's recent consultation document, "Choice and Opportunity", recommended a system of accreditation through which non-consultant career grade doctors with formally recognised skills can work independently at the appropriate level. The introduction of a competency-based framework should facilitate the movement of doctors between specialties to support a more flexible medical work force.

Since 1997, the number of staff grade and associate specialist doctors in dermatology nationally has increased by 130 per cent.