Health secretary Alan Milburn has warned that waiting lists will rise over the next couple of months because of the planned priority the NHS has been giving to winter emergencies. The number of patients waiting for inpatient and day-case treatment fell by 8,000 in November to 1,071,400.

This represents a reduction of 90,600 on November 1998.

NHS Waiting List Figures, 30 November 1999. The Department of Health has started consulting on a proposal to restrict the antibaldness drug Propecia to private prescription, as requested by manufacturer Merck, Sharp and Dohme. The DoH said it welcomed MSD's responsible approach, since treatment of natural hair loss cannot compare with our priorities of cancer, heart disease and mental health . The Welsh Assembly has issued a draft strategic framework for promoting sexual health in Wales, which has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Europe and increasing rates of sexually transmitted disease. Welsh health secretary Jane Hutt said the strategy recognised that areas with high rates of teenage pregnancy were also areas of social exclusion, underlining the need for a cross-cutting approach between government departments.

In the feature, Tis the season to be (16 December, pages 20-22) the website address for private hospital regulation should have read Doncaster Healthcare trust is not merging with Bassetlaw Hospital and Community Services trust as indicated in the text of last weeks news focus, Closed argument (page 11, 13 January). But it has merged with Scunthorpe Community Healthcare trust. Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Montagu Hospital trust is merging with Bassetlaw Hospital and Community Services trust.