A survey of 140 trust nursing directors, by Pay and Workforce Research and the newsletter Employing Nurses and Midwives, has found that their average basic pay is now 73 per cent of a chief executive's salary, compared with 66 per cent in 1998. Respondents said they had wider responsibilities, including responsibility for clinical governance.

Pay and Workforce Research information, 01423-842537.

Help the Aged has called for a 'fast track' system to deal with urgent complaints about neglect or malnourishment among older people as part of a review of the NHS complaints procedure. The charity also wants greater monitoring of complaints and a supplementary system to take up comments and suggestions from patients and relatives.

The annual collection of recent editions of the British National Formulary by Book Aid International will take place in November for distribution to developing countries.

Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Association, 1 Lambeth High Street, London SE1 7JN.

A£60,000 grant from the Scottish Arts Council national lottery fund means that the UK's first 'clown doctor' programme can get under way. A team of actors and performers will be trained to work with sick children in hospitals across Scotland.

The Audit Commission has appointed Doug Elliott as head of its new office in Wales. He has worked for the commission for five years, most recently leading its work on local government reorganisation in Wales.

Thameside Community Healthcare trust has published a Kosovar/Albanian phrasebook to help patients. It is produced by one of its salaried GPs, Dr Philip Matthews, and an Albanian-speaking Kosovar, Dr Fahri Seljmani.