The former managing director of Virgin, Don Cruikshank, is the surprise appointment to fill the new£53,000-a-year post of Scottish NHS chief executive. Mr Cruikshank, who was born in Scotland, described his management style as relaxed and laid back. Labour Scottish health spokesman Sam Galbraith said: 'the appointment of a man who ran a pop company to run the NHS sums up this government's attitude'.
Senior Department of Health officials expect to be inundated with bids from GPs anxious to manage their own practice budgets when ministers call for formal applications in the autumn. The DoH anticipates at least 5,000 doctors - one fifth of those eligible - will apply to become fundholders. One DoH source predicted GPs would be 'clamouring at the door', and said some who had expressed informal interest had publicly voted against fundholding at their local medical committees.
Hospital waiting lists have risen sharply in the past year, despite the£30m allocated by the government to reduce them. An HSJ survey shows lists up in 10 of the 14 English regions. Numbers waiting have risen by 32,000 - 4.2 per cent - and stand at 788,293, a rise on the 1979 peak of 752,400.
A Metropolitan Police commander, an army brigadier and a Royal Marine are among appointments to the new family practitioner committee general manager posts. Trade union NALGO said it was concerned that 'outsiders' would not have the requisite knowledge of the NHS's complexities.
Health authorities in Wales are being allowed a significantly more flexible approach to implementing the NHS reforms than in England. Welsh secretary Peter Walker has called on HA chairs to 'discuss' within districts and units the 'possibility' of hospitals becoming trusts.