The Lord Chancellor's Department is expected to launch a code of practice today aimed at cutting the time and cost involved in clinical negligence cases. The pre-action protocol has been drawn up by Clinical Disputes Forum, which represents lawyers, doctors and victims of medical accidents.

New salary scales for NHS administrative and clerical staff will see the top salary rise to pounds39,079. The increase follows agreement in the Whitley Council covering white collar staff to the same rise as that awarded to staff covered by the pay review bodies - 2 per cent from 1 April, rising to 3.8 per cent from 1 December.

Joyce Struthers has been elected chair of the Association of Community Health Councils for England and Wales. She succeeds Jennifer Elliott, who stood down at last week's ACHCEW conference after three years. Ms Struthers is chair of North Bedfordshire CHC.

Unison has claimed to have 'taken the tax man to the cleaners' after winning a tax concession it says will be worth pounds100 for every nurse. Nurses in Bridgend and Rhyl have been awarded an allowance, backdated to 1991, for washing their uniforms. The union says it hopes to extend the concession nationwide.

The private sector should be brought into a properly integrated planning process to develop long-term care, says a report by the Independent Healthcare Association. The report forms the IHA's evidence to the Royal Commission on Long-term Care.

Available from Susan Doohan. 0171-430 0215.

The National AIDS and Prisons Forum has called for a 'systematic approach to culturally sensitive HIV prevention work in prisons' following the publication of a study suggesting that prisoners in England and Wales are nearly four times more likely than the general population to carry the virus.