The British Medical Association is to meet health minister John Denham in an attempt to make progress in the deadlocked negotiations over the introduction of annual appraisals for GPs. The appraisal scheme - pledged in the NHS plan to start this month - is now scheduled to begin during the next 12 months.

The savings attributed to private finance initiative funding of NHS projects could be achieved without the use of PFI, if the requirement to borrow capital from the private sector was dropped, according to the Office of Health Economics. An OHE book on the economics of PFI in the NHS says the balance of benefits is a fine one.

The Economics of the Private Finance Initiative in the NHS.

020-7930 9203.£10. 00.

The Department of Health has published its reference guide to patient consent for examination and treatment.

It includes a summary of relevant case law and guidance issued by regulatory bodies. A 12-point aide-memoire for clinicians is also available.

Reference Guide to Consent for Examination or Treatment.

www. doh. gov. uk/consent Junior health minister Lord Hunt and the British Dental Association have agreed a new payment scheme to help NHS dentists meet the cost of continuing professional development. Those 'fully committed'to the NHS will receive most.

Junior doctors in Northern Ireland are seeking an urgent meeting with health minister Bairbre de Brun after a survey of juniors'accommodation found it failed firesafety guidelines in all 12 Northern Ireland acute trusts.

British Medical Association (NI) junior doctors'chair Dr Peter Maguire said: 'There are 1,100 junior doctors in the province who are potentially being put at risk every time they work on call, and this is unacceptable. '

www. bma. org. uk/northernireland