Waiting times contest... reform fraud warning... unions defend manager... homeopathic hospital trouble... HA evicts staff... McDonald's for Guy's?

Published: 09/05/2002, Volume II2, No. 5804 Page 8

Regional and district health authorities are competing to come up with the most ambitious targets for slashing waiting times.

Dorset says it intends to have no patient waiting more than six months for an operation by 31 March next year.Mersey and South Western do not want patients waiting more than 12 months by the end of the financial year.

The NHS reforms threaten to compromise internal audit cover, leaving units open to fraud and corruption, senior finance managers have warned.The devolution of management means in many cases health authority audit teams have been divided among local trusts leaving units short of essential skills to meet audit standards.

The joint union committee at the Wirral community unit has launched a petition following the announcement by unit general manager Peter Lince that he would be leaving his post in the summer.They believe his departure was influenced by Mersey regional health authority, after a setback in the unIt is trust application.The petition says 'staff have every confidence in Mr Lince'.

Britain's leading homeopathic hospital could lose income after costs to some purchasers have more than doubled.Already, two large purchasers have told the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital they will not sign contracts this year.

Cambridge health authority has started legal action to evict 108 employees - mainly nurses and ancillary workers - who refuse to leave Addenbrooke's hospital flats needed for doctors and trainee nurses.

Guy's Hospital in London could soon have a McDonald's restaurant.Guy's and Lewisham trust is negotiating with the fast-food company.

But Lewisham and Southwark community health council secretary Rory O'Kelly said the scheme sounded 'loony'.