Published: 15/07/2004, Volume II4, No. 5914 Page 6

A new internet network, created by the NHS Alliance and NHSU, the NHS's corporate university, will allow professionals working in primary care to exchange views and information.The primary care and community group is part of the existing contact help and information network, which is run by NHSU.

www. nhsalliance. org www. nhsu. nhs. uk/chain

West Hertfordshire Hospitals trust has appointed David Law (pictured) as its chief executive.He had been acting chief executive since May following the departure of former chief executive Val Harrison.He joined as planning director in 2001.

The number of people giving up smoking as a result of using NHS services rose by 65 per cent last year. In the year to March 2004, over 200,000 people gave up smoking after seeking help from the NHS.Government spending on stop-smoking services - including nicotine patches - in 200304 was£23m. In the previous year it was only£11m.

www. doh. gov. uk

The Health Development Agency has launched nine public health collaborating centres to promote best practice.Based in universities, they will focus on gathering evidence on what works to improve health and reduce health inequalities.HDA chief executive Paul Streets said: 'These new centres will deliver evidence and advice that is both informed by and relevant to local practitioners'.

http: //www. hda. nhs. uk/

The amount of money paid to community pharmacists and dispensing doctors for four generic medicines is to be further reduced, saving the NHS around£100m. Junior health minister Lord Warner said that reimbursement for Doxazosin, Lisinopril, Omeprazole and Simvastatin will be cut from September.

www. dh. gov. uk