The number of GP personal medical services pilot schemes going live from the beginning of the month was 967, down from 1,230 schemes approved last December and representing more than a 20 per cent drop-out rate.Final contract negotiations are continuing with some schemes, while an additional 61 have delayed starting until October.

The Scottish Executive will invest£11.5m by 2003 to fund 375 additional junior doctor posts across Scotland.

The British Medical Association's Scottish junior doctors' committee has welcomed the announcement, which should reduce junior doctors'working hours.

Elderly patients with Parkinson's disease are discriminated against by GPs who fail to refer them to a specialist, according to the Parkinson's Disease Society.

The charity's survey of over 400 GPs found 44 per cent considered age a factor when deciding whether to make a referral.The claim follows the government's pledge last week to end ageism in NHS services.

The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency is to pilot a new electronic system of tendering in conjunction with the Royal Bank of Scotland.The government estimates that an Internet-based system for procurement in the public sector could save£13m over four years.

The Health and Safety Executive is prosecuting Birmingham University medical school for 'putting staff at unacceptable risk'by failing to test the ventilation system of one of its TB labs and for having an ineffective back-up filter in the system.

Draft legislation has been published to establish the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which will replace the UK Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting, as well as a new Health Professions Council to oversee the professions allied to medicine.The councils will come into being in April 2002.