Published: 30/01/2003, Volume II3, No. 5840 Page 6

Nearly two-thirds of primary care trusts feel their commissioning is fully or fairly effective, according to a survey by the NHS Alliance.The survey of 81 PCTs found that only 23 per cent of felt there was effective demand management of secondary care referrals.

www. nhsalliance. org. uk

In September 2002 more than 1,500 fewer people were waiting to be discharged from hospital on any single day than was the case 12 months previously, according to new government figures.

www. doh. gov. uk/jointunit. htm

The Family Planning Association is launching a new range of 10 information leaflets in response to the sharp rise in the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases among tennagers.

www. fpa. org. uk

Western health board is carrying out a major review of alcohol and drug services. In 2000 one in five cases where children were taken into care were related to parental alcohol abuse.The results of the review will shape the development of the board's five-year drugs and alcohol strategy.

A joint initiative has been launched this week by the departments of health and education aiming to help people improve their basic skills and link learning to improving their health. It will help with the management of practical situations such as making an appointment with their doctor or calculating medicine doses.

www. doh. gov. uk

NHS chief executive Nigel Crisp has hit back at newspapers repeating the 'myth' that the NHS now has more bureaucrats than beds. In a letter to The Business newspaper on Sunday, Mr Crisp pointed out that these figures include 'painters, gardeners and medical secretaries'.He said management costs had dropped from 5p per pound in 1997 to 4p now.