Published:25/04/2002, Volume II2, No. 5802, Page 6

The style of performance management adopted by the Department of Health could 'fatally undermine effective partnership working'among primary care trusts and local agencies, the all-party parliamentary group on primary care and public health has warned. Its report on PCTs and public health, supported by the NHS Confederation, says:

'Heavy-handed performance management that demands duplication of effort has the potential to stifle local initiative.'And it calls for a limit to the volume of new central guidance.

www. nhsconfed. org. uk

Widespread structural changes to social services could put children at risk, the Local Government Association has warned the Victoria Climbié inquiry.The LGA said structural change to children's services 'will create further disruption, communication problems and deflect from the essential task of ensuring the network of support protects all children at risk'.

Scottish first minister Jack McConnell has announced that from 2003 GPs will have access to an internet database showing inpatient and outpatient waiting times across the country, including capacity in the private sector, so they can refer patients to where they will be treated most quickly.GPs will be able to directly refer patients to the hospital.

The NHS Modernisation Agency has launched the first in a series of guides to help staff make patient-centred changes to their services.The guides are Matching Capacity and Demand, Measurement for Improvement, and Process Mapping: analysis and redesign.The guides include case studies.

www. modern. nhs. uk

Free postal testing kits for chlamydia - one of the fastest growing but least known sexually transmitted infections in the UK - are to be offered to teenagers in Lothian, Scotland, through music shops, pharmacists and other outlets.