The final report of Scotland's inquiry into organ retention has recommended a total overhaul of the 1961 Human Tissue Act covering post-mortem and organ retention, which it says is 'vague and uncertain'.The review says all post-mortems should be authorised by relatives, with penalties for breaches.Draft standards on post-mortem and organ retention have been produced by the Clinical Standards Board for Scotland, in line with the recommendations.

A report from the Open University claims the health service is losing touch with public opinion, with lay membership of regulatory bodies not representative of the general community.

Professor Celia Davies's research found that 60 per cent of lay members were aged over 55 and most had held other public sector appointments, with many having worked in the NHS.

www. open. ac. uk

A controversial project to fund the first stage of a private finance initiative children's hospital for Wales through a£5m charitable appeal moved closer to completion this week, when the Noah's Ark Appeal accepted a£500,000 donation from pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.The appeal total now stands at nearly£4m.

Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern this week launched a national strategy to increase the number of hospital beds by 3,000 over the next decade.Quality and Fairness: a health system for you promises that by the end of next year, no-one will have to wait more than 12 months for treatment.By the end of 2003, no adult should wait more than six months and no child more than three months.

The number of older people getting home care in Scotland fell by 13 per cent between 1998 and 2000, according to Audit Scotland's Homing in on Care report. It also showed that spending went down in a third of councils, despite an increase nationally from£110m to£122m in the last three years.

www. audit-scotland. gov. uk