Published:25/04/2002, Volume II2, No. 5802, Page 8

Primary care agency planned- Community care reform urged- Operating theatre shortage threatens life- Bottomley's 'talent' Plans for a primary care agency covering four health authorities in east London and employing up to 1,200 staff are being worked up by a regional health authority.North East Thames RHA is on the point of employing a firm of management consultants to work on the plan amid accusations that it is being 'cobbled together at breakneck speed'before the Tomlinson Inquiry into London's health services.

Making community care reforms a reality must be the top priority for the new ministerial health team, NHS organisations urged this week.National Association of Health Authorities and Trusts director Philip Hunt said [new government spokesperson in the Lords] Baroness Cumberlege's experience [as former NAHAT chair] and particularly her interest in community health was 'good news'.He said implementation of community care charges, especially the financial arrangements coming into force next April, must be the minister's top priority.

Worrying shortages of essential hospital services, such as emergency operating theatres, recovery rooms and intensive care units, are highlighted in a new report.The National Confidential Enquiry into Perioperative Deaths says that 'inadequate provision'of these facilities is affecting patients' chances of surviving surgery.But co-author of the report Brendan Devlin told HSJ that lack of funding for hospitals was not to blame.He said the solution lay with better management of resources.

From Monitor: Fascinating and intelligent analysis from the tabloid press on new health secretary Virginia Bottomley.Under the headline 'Carry on, nurse' in The Sun , Mrs Bottomley is called 'female talent' and urged to 'tour the country dressed in a nurse's uniform'.The Express reveals she thinks she is 'tougher than I look'.