news

Health minister John Denham has announced 'tough action to tackle racism in the NHS' by issuing a circular reminding managers of Tackling Racial Harassment Within the NHS, an action plan launched by his predecessor, Alan Milburn.

Psychiatric service users from pressure group Reclaim Bedlam marched on the offices of Sane on Monday in protest at its 'support of compulsory treatment orders'. They simulated forced injections with a 5ft-long syringe to express 'deep revulsion' at how Sane 'uses the media every time there is a homicide inquiry'. But Sane said it had always been 'opposed to compulsory treatment outside a hospital or equivalent clinical setting'.

Sir Naren Patel, former president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and newly appointed chair of the Clinical Standards Board for Scotland, has been created Baron Patel of Dunkeld in Perth and Kinross. He was introduced to the Lords by Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, and health minister Baroness Hayman.

Further trust mergers have been approved by ministers. Royal London Homeopathic Hospital trust will merge with Parkside Health trust on 1 April. Central Middlesex trust and Northwick Park and St Mark's trust will merge on the same day.

The Office of Fair Trading has 'won the first round' in the latest battle to let retailers decide how much to charge for branded over-the-counter medicines. The OFT has won a ruling from the Restrictive Practices Court that it can go to the High Court to challenge 'the last bastion of resale price maintenance in the economy'.

The winner of HSJ's free prize draw for those who took part in our reader survey last month is Richard Champion, divisional human resources manager at University Hospital, Birmingham. He wins a fortnight in Barbados for two. HSJ would like to thank everyone who responded.