Published: 15/01/2004, Volume II4, No. 5888 Page 6

Medical academics employed by universities have voted by more than 90 per cent to accept a new contract.The contract is intended to allow academics to balance their work for the NHS more effectively with teaching and research commitments.

Closer links must be forged between independent social care providers and social services departments, a report by the Association of Directors of Social Services has found.

Implementing Building Capacity and Partnership in Care says independent health and social care providers should be involved in the planning, delivery, monitoring and review of local services.

www. adss. org. uk

The Scottish Executive will consult on smoking in public places, which could lead to a total or partial ban, it announced on Tuesday. It also promised further controls to stop children accessing cigarettes.

www. scotland. gov. uk

The Hospital Caterers Association is launching a campaign to ensure all hospital patients have protected time to eat their meals.All trusts will be invited to sign up to the policy, which will mean eating is not disturbed by ward rounds, bed changing, cleaning or other interruptions.

www. hospitalcaterers. org

The most recent waiting-list figures show there were still 33,800 patients waiting nine months for inpatient treatment in November 2003.This was a fall of 5,200 on the previous month.There should be no patients waiting more than nine months by the end of March.

A news story in our edition of 27 November 2003 ('PCTs fail on sexual health') contained some inaccurate figures.The number of newly diagnosed HIV cases in the UK during 2002, according to a Health Protection Agency report, was 5,711, compared to 4,982 the previous year.Of those, 1,691, or around 30 per cent, were among gay or bisexual men.