Published: 11/4/2002, Volume II2, No. 5800 Page 6

London Ambulance Service trust has won government praise for its dramatic improvement in emergency response times.March figures show that LAS met its interim target of reaching 65 per cent of the most serious category A calls within eight minutes - up from 52 per cent last year and just 39 per cent in 1999.LAS is expected to reach the national 75 per cent target by December.

Ninety community psychiatric nurses at Lanarkshire primary care trust have won a grading battle and pay rises of up to£4,000 each.The PCT agreed the upgrade from E and F grades to G grade, backdated for three years.

Medical education needs to change to improve patient safety, Australia's chief medical officer told a UK audience this week.Professor Richard Smallwood, delivering the Royal College of Physicians'annual Lilly lecture, said the emphasis must move away from individual responsibility for errors and towards educating doctors to improve systems and avoid errors.

The Commons public accounts committee has criticised the standard of medical assessments carried out by the Benefits Agency on people claiming disability benefit.Forty per cent of appeals against rejected claims prove successful and a quarter are a direct result of mistakes made by agency staff.Up to 10 per cent of assessments carried out each year by the private SEMA group to establish eligibility are substandard, it says.

www. parliament. uk/commons/ selcom/pachome. htm Negotiations with system suppliers are underway to ensure that GPs have software upgrades to handle online pathology reports and results, the NHS Information Authority has announced.

Central procurement will ensure that GPs can use the national pathology messaging system, the first to use secure information that feeds directly into the patient's electronic record held by the GP practice.