Sacked LAS manager goes to industrial tribunal

A London Ambulance Service trust manager sacked for his handling of the dismissal of two frontline crew members is to take his case to an industrial tribunal. David Carrington, who as director of ambulance services was third in line at the trust, led an investigation into a 1995 incident in which the 999 crew were alleged to have refused to answer an emergency call.

They later successfully sued the trust for unfair dismissal, and Mr Carrington was sacked for 'lying' to the tribunal. His solicitor, Kyriacos Kyriacou, said this week there were 'no valid grounds' for the dismissal. He aims to get Mr Carrington's job back, plus compensation.

Effective but expensive verdict on citizens' juries

Citizens' juries have proved both more effective and more expensive as a means of involving the public in health authority decision-making, a King's Fund analysis of pilot schemes set up by the Institute for Public Policy Research has concluded. It says most of those involved considered juries to be the 'superior' system because it enabled them to 'get an informed view from 'ordinary citizens''. But each jury took five months to set up, involved only a small number of people and cost pounds16,000 plus staff time.

Independent Evaluation of Citizens' Juries in Health Authority Settings (summary document), from King's Fund bookshop. 0171-307 2591. pounds5.

Variable sirens could cut 999 response times

Emergency ambulances could improve response times if they adopted different sirens, according to Leeds University researchers. Speaking at the British Psychological Society's postgraduate affairs conference this week, Ken Catchpole said a study of how people perceived sounds revealed that a 'localisable' alarm consisting of a 'mixture of tones and noise' could be more easily located than the current siren, enabling drivers to move out of the way.

Military hospitals chief in resignation controversy

The Defence Secondary Care Agency refused to comment this week on newspaper reports that chief executive Ron Smith had resigned after his wife, a serving RAF officer, was accused of fraud and he was exposed during the inquiry as an adulterer. The allegations, which surfaced in the Daily Mirror, suggested that more details of Mr Smith's behaviour would come to light when the case against Wing Commander Susan Smith goes to a military tribunal next month. Mr Smith had previously said that his departure followed the completion of a review of military hospitals.

Lawyers warn of rising cost of medical negligence Health authorities will have to budget for a big increase in the cost of medical negligence claims following a House of Lords ruling on the way compensation should be calculated, lawyers have warned. The ruling - which overturns a 1996 appeal court decision that had cut damages by up to one third - could also mean an increase in subscription fees to the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts.

The appeal court had previously cut crash victim Thelma Wells' payout from pounds1.6m to pounds1.1m, medical negligence claimant James Thomas' payout from pounds1.3m to pounds1m and accident victim Kelvin Page's payout from pounds1m to pounds620,000. The full awards will now be reinstated.

Janet Lofthouse, a specialist medical defence lawyer at law firm Nabarro Nathanson, said: 'HAs and trusts should rebudget now for increased damages.'

Mildmay announces new AIDS centre in Uganda

The organisation that set up Britain's first AIDS hospice is to take its expertise to Africa. Mildmay, which claims to be the UK's largest AIDS care provider, is to open a specialist training and care centre for men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS in Kampala, Uganda, in September. It hopes to set up a model that can be 'cascaded' to other countries. The centre will cost pounds3.3m to set up and run for three years, pounds2.6m of it contributed by the British government.