The UK Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting has promised to increase its membership among ethnic minorities, and to rid its publications of stereotypes. The commitments on racial equality are part of a strategy to establish the groundwork for 'increased diversity' in the new regulatory body which is to replace the UKCC and the national boards.

The British Association of Occupational Therapists has launched a national petition calling on the government to provide more resources for OT services in its next budget. Chair Kay East said funding levels did not reflect increasing research evidence on the benefits of OT. 'Shortages of OTs are reaching 20 per cent, and waiting lists are growing longer.'

The world's first biodegradable, toilet-flushable colostomy bag is among 19 medical innovations in the latest batch of millennium products announced by the Design Council. The bag joins nearly 800 other products which may be exhibited in the Millennium Dome. The prime minister launched the project two years ago.

An updated version of A Parent's Guide to Children's Cancers has been produced by the UK Children's Cancer Study Group and the charity CancerBACUP. The booklet provides information ranging from incidence data to treatments and dealing with hospital life.

CancerBACUP, 020-7696 9003, or UKCCSG Data Centre, 22-28 Princess Road West, Leicester LE1 6TP.

Doctors in Sheffield are researching whether high iron levels could be a factor in cot deaths. 'If it is confirmed that the iron levels are higher in cot-death babies, it is unlikely that this will have been the sole reason for their deaths,' said Dr Robin Miralles, specialist registrar at the Northern General Hospital, who is leading the study.