Health booklet for homes. . .Cook favours split. . .Prince of Wales treated by NHS. . .BMA head attacks NHS Act. . .Personnel to be cut

The government is to spend£3m on a booklet explaining the internal market.

The NHS Reforms and You will be delivered to every household in the country by the end of the year. It has been condemned by Labour, the British Medical Association and trade unions.

Shadow health secretary Robin Cook said: 'The Tories are lying when they say hospitals opting out of local health authority control would continue to be run by NHS staff on NHS premises.'

A Labour government would keep some form of purchaser-provider split, Mr Cook has revealed. Party sources indicate that he favours an 'arm's-length' relationship between the two functions within a unified health authority. Labour's reforms would involve a minimum of turbulence in recognition of 'management fatigue', they say.

The Prince of Wales chose an NHS hospital for treatment after he broke his arm playing polo. He was taken to Cirencester Memorial Hospital , where he waited for more than an hour in casualty before being seen by a surgeon.

The BMA's new chair, Jeremy Lee-Potter, has hit out at the NHS Act, claiming it fails to address the real problems facing the service.

He said health secretary Kenneth Clarke had to 'recognise the genuine fears that doctors have about the service'. He cited underfunding, ward closures and junior doctors' long working hours as priorities.

Staff cuts of up to 30 per cent are being proposed for the Department of Health's NHS personnel directorate. NHS personnel director Eric Caines said he was asking for the cuts as part of a move to dismantle the centre and encourage initiative among unit managers.

A DoH spokesperson said the policy was tied up with a general movement to 'devolve responsibilities downwards'.