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Lib Dems pledge to 'give power back to nurses'

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The Liberal Democrats would give ward sisters control over budgets and recruit an extra 3,000 midwives and health visitors, their health spokesman Norman Lamb has said.

Speaking at the party’s autumn conference in Bournemouth yesterday Mr Lamb said that if the Liberal Democrats won the next election, they would “give power back to the nurses who run our wards.”

“This means giving the ward sister control over their budgets and responsibility for the staff who work there. So that when they’re understaffed, they’re able to call in extra help,” he said.

He said growth in the number of midwives had not kept up with the rising birth rate and he criticised the government’s spending of £150m on grants for expectant mothers. He said the Liberal Democrats would spend that money instead on recruiting 3,000 more midwives and health visitors.

He also said the Liberal Democrats would scrap strategic health authorities, halve the size of the Department of Health, and cap the pay of staff at quangos such as regulators at the rate of the Prime Minister’s pay – currently £197,689 if the parliamentary salary of £64,766 is included.

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