Published: 16/09/2004, Volume II4, No. 5923 Page 8

Health secretary John Reid believes the NHS is better equipped to deal with the health needs of an ageing population than other European countries.

He told an informal gathering of EU ministers in the Netherlands that the tax-funded NHS had an advantage over other systems because it incentivised local health organisations to invest in preventive services.

The Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons has stopped short of publishing league tables of consultants'death rates in its latest report.The society released data on the number of standard heart bypass operations surgeons performed on adults in a year.But it believes publishing death rates would encourage surgeons to avoid taking on high-risk cases.

www. scts. org

The National Institute for Mental Health in England is developing pilot programmes in north London, Manchester and Bedfordshire to encourage suicidal young men to seek help sooner.Suicide is the most common cause of death in men aged under 35.

www. nimhe. org. uk

Urgent interventions to prevent children from taking drugs are required in schools, youth groups and community centres, a Health Development Agency survey has discovered.The findings show the majority of government interventions have not been subjected to rigorous evaluation and programmes that focus only on 'just say no' approaches are ineffective.

www. hda. nhs. uk

The NHS employers organisation has appointed the current Home Office immigration and nationality directorate senior director of human resources Steve Barnett as its director.NHS Confederation interim director Alastair Henderson has been made his deputy.Mr Barnett is a former Department of Health deputy director of HR and Central Manchester Healthcare trust HR and organisational development director.The organisation will launch officially on 1 November.

www. hpa. org. uk