GP leaders have warned primary care groups not to rush towards trust status next April. The British Medical Association's GP committee said PCGs should wait until October 2000 to become primary care trusts. GP committee joint deputy chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said potential PCTs would not be aware of their legal obligations until guidance was issued in December.

Health authorities and trusts have been invited to submit bids for capital investment in pathology services. NHS Executive guidance says bids for 1999-2000 will need to be based on reconfiguration and modernisation plans 'which are already well advanced'. Expressions of interest must be made by 26 August.

Modernisation of Pathology Services: modernisation fund.

The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland rose from 263 in 1997 to 276 in 1998, according to the Register General for Scotland. Heroin or morphine was involved in 114 deaths, diazepam in 105 and methadone in 64. The highest number of deaths - 94 - was in the Greater Glasgow health board area.

Drug Related Deaths in Scotland, 1998. groshome.htm

The total number of people who have died of new-variant Creutzfeldt- Jacob disease has risen to 43, according to Department of Health figures. The figure includes one victim who died in July.

Monthly Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease Figures.

Age Concern has produced a free fact sheet, Fitness in Later Life, to encourage elderly people to take up exercise and new activities. It says simple, inexpensive exercise, such as walking, can decrease the risks of age-related disability and heart problems.

Fitness in Later Life. Age Concern information line, 0800-009966.

See news focus, page 14.