Families sue over nurse Allitt. . .NAHAT merger call. . .Performance-related pay for ward sisters. . .Privatisation push. . . Junior doctors'hours

Families of children allegedly murdered by nurse Beverley Allitt at Grantham and Kesteven Hospital plan to sue South Lincolnshire health authority for negligence.Ms Allitt has been remanded on charges of murdering four children and attempting to murder eight others.She denies the charges.

Health authorities and family health services authorities should merge in the long term and concentrate on purchasing primary care, says the National Association of Health Authorities and Trusts. It calls for the NHS to place less emphasis on secondary care and concern itself more with GP services.When integrated, these services would take centre stage under joint commissioning bodies formed from merging HAs and FHSAs.

Trust chief executives want performance-related pay extended to ward sisters.Twelve of them have urged the pay review body to make a higher proportion of nurses'pay subject to local flexibility, supported by a 'modest' rise.Trusts are not bound to honour the rise recommended by the review body, but say that in practice they cannot ignore the national increase.

The government is seeking to extend competitive tendering into white-collar services, according to its document, Competing for Quality .NHS supplies and sterile services provide further opportunities for savings through market testing, it says.Union NALGO dismissed the proposal as 'an ideological push towards privatisation'.

Twelve of the 14 NHS regions have been 'slow off the mark' in working towards the target of reducing junior doctors'hours to 72 by 1997, according to the British Medical Association's junior doctors committee.'We are worried that the whole process will be neglected, ' said a spokesperson.