Drug demand to increase. . . directors want more cash. . . call for change in community care. . .DoH accused of lying. . . homeless 'too expensive'

Pharmaceutical companies have warned the government to plan for 'significantly increased demand' for medicines to treat growing numbers of elderly people in the 1990s. They cited figures which show that the number of prescriptions in England has gone up by more than 17 per cent since 1977, and that 96 per cent of the increase went to meet elderly people's needs.

The NHS will have trouble recruiting people from business to act as nonexecutive directors, according to a King's Fund study. Top managers from business and industry are likely to be deterred by smaller fees for NHS work than for similar roles in the commercial sector, it claims.

The government is facing pressure for changes in community care, now being discussed in the standing committee examining the NHS Bill. Conservative backbenchers have voiced disquiet to health secretary Kenneth Clarke about how much income support is available to residents of local authority elderly people's homes. There is also pressure for the government to set up a national inspectorate for residential homes.

A British Medical Association representative has accused the Department of Health of lying to the pay review body when it said progress had been made in reducing junior doctors' hours. Dr Sam Everington believes the DoH has sat on a report since August which shows juniors averaging 90 hours a week.

Doctors are refusing to register homeless people because they are afraid they will prove too expensive to treat, according to voluntary organisations. They also warn that introduction of the new GPs' contract on 1 April will further reduce homeless people's access to healthcare, while the internal market reforms will erode joint planning of services with local authorities.