Drugs firm and NHS to fund diabetes research centre

Health secretary Frank Dobson has announced plans for a research and treatment centre for diabetes and related disorders. The Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism will open in 2001 at the Churchill Hospital, adjacent to Oxford University research facilities. It is being funded by£4.2m from the NHS capital programme and£4m from pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. Mr Dobson said it would provide 'an excellent example of the NHS working together with the private sector and the academic world'.

Taskforce aims to co-ordinate millennium services

Doctor Patient Partnership has invited health organisations to join Health Alert 2000, a new taskforce to co-ordinate health services over the 10- day millennium celebrations. It also aims to provide advice for the public on 'responsible use' of the health service, including how to get help without going to the nearest hospital accident and emergency department. 'The flu outbreak this year clearly illustrates the need for public education and co-ordination of health services over the long holiday celebration period,' said DPP chair Simon Fradd.

Strategy 'could cut number of smokers by 75,000'

The Health Education Authority has issued a strategy for the health service on how to help people stop smoking. The guidelines, backed by 21 medical and professional bodies, say health professionals should ask about smoking 'at every opportunity', advise all smokers to stop, and assist them with tips, including the role of nicotine replacement therapy. Public health minister Tessa Jowell claimed the strategy could cut the number of smokers in England by 75,000 a year.

Smoking Cessation Guidelines and their Cost-Effectiveness. HEA Customer Services, 01235-465565.£10.

Confederation backs BMA appeal for Viagra advice

The NHS Confederation has backed British Medical Association calls for the government to issue guidelines on prescribing the anti-impotence drug Viagra. But chief executive Stephen Thornton said doctors' threats to start prescribing the drug were 'unnecessary and unhelpful'. The confederation argues that Viagra should be prescribed in primary care, to avoid 'a negative impact on waiting times and those awaiting hospital treatment with more serious urological conditions'.

Minister confident as Welsh waiting lists fall again

Welsh health minister Jon Owen Jones has welcomed a further fall in waiting lists. The number of Welsh residents waiting for hospital admission at the end of November was 71,264, down 1,763 on the end of October. The number of people waiting more than 12 and 18 months also fell. Fulfilling the government's pledge to bring waiting lists below their May 1997 level will require a further reduction of more than 3,500.

£54m hospital would be Wales' largest PFI project

Glan-y-Mor trust has unveiled plans for Wales' largest health project funded through the private finance initiative. The trust has chosen a consortium led by healthcare architects SSL to build a 260-bed,£54m hospital for Neath and Port Talbot on land at Baglan Moors, near Port Talbot. Detailed design work will be carried out before final plans are submitted to Iechyd Morgannwg health authority and the Welsh Office.

Campaign to improve hospital care for the elderly

Help the Aged has launched a two-year Dignity on the Ward campaign to lobby for higher standards of hospital care for older people, with support from the Royal College of Nursing, community health councils and pressure groups. It follows a survey carried out by the charity towards the end of last year which claimed that 'many older people experienced shocking levels of ill treatment' on over-stretched wards.