Former nurse Ann Keen has been appointed parliamentary private secretary to health secretary Frank Dobson. The Brentford and Isleworth MP was also general secretary of the Community and District Nursing Association until her election in 1997. She succeeds Hugh Bayley, now a social security minister.

Welsh secretary Alun Michael has announced that 'everyone in Wales' should have access to a bilingual version of NHS Direct by next year. The nurse-led telephone advice service will cover 40 per cent of England by April.

University College London Hospitals trust has condemned a Unison call for strike action by cleaners and porters as 'cynical and potentially harmful to patients'. The call is linked to the trust's plans to build a new hospital under the private finance initiative.

A review has been launched of services provided by the two acute hospitals that will be run by Fife's new acute services trust. Fife health board approved the review of Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline, and Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, to 'move ahead' with an integrated healthcare strategy, drawn up last March.

Hull University has unveiled proposals for a new medical school in the wake of the government's announcement that additional funding will be provided to recruit 1,000 extra medical students a year by 2005. The school would provide a four-year 'programme of accelerated learning' to 100 medical students each year from 2001.

The Scottish Office is backing a private member's bill to close a loophole in the Mental Health (Scotland) Act which means personal funds held by hospitals on patients' behalf cannot follow them into the community.

We apologise for the erratic punctuation in the front section of last week's HSJ. This was due to a production fault at our pre-press facility.