NEWS: Internal market problems. . .First Division. . .Joint purchase of health and social care. . .NHS seeks charity cash. . .IT plan collapses

Major hospitals are facing significant cash problems only four months into the internal market.Managers are now appealing for extra funds to tackle overspends at University College and the Middlesex hospitals in London and at the General Hospital and Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.Most problems stem from soaring patient activity not funded in contracts, or from fewer than expected extracontractual referrals.

The First Division Association says it has had a flood of membership applications from NHS general managers.It wrote to 800 in the summer, and has received applications from 200.More arrive at the rate of 15 a week, says FDA general secretary Liz Symons.

Lawyers have told Surrey county council that one of the managerial models favoured for delivering 'seamless' community care could be illegal.Solicitors say the council does not have powers to purchase healthcare as well as social care, which managers have argued would be simpler and cheaper.

An appeal for£10m to provide a new wing for Edinburgh's Royal Hospital for Sick Children has come under attack from Labour Scottish health spokesman Sam Galbraith.He said he was outraged that the NHS could no longer afford obviously needed buildings for operating theatres, an intensive care and day surgery unit, and for overnight facilities for patients.

The Department of Health's strategy for information systems, designed to guide NHS computing beyond the year 2000, will be at least six months late and may never appear in the form originally intended, sources say.They claim that there is no way of getting autonomous parts of the NHS, particularly trusts, to follow the plan except by giving them grants which could cost hundreds of millions of pounds.