IHSM slates lack of guidance over PFI projects

The Institute of Health Services Management has criticised the government for failing to issue guidance to managers charged

with developing new hospital projects under the private finance initiative. Howard Lyons, chair of the IHSM's PFI Watch, said:

'We have waited patiently for detailed guidance to emerge, only to be told by officials that it is still awaiting approval by ministers. The health secretary needs to realise that managers need support with these highly complex schemes.' Department of Health officials were due to attend an IHSM conference today on managers' experiences of PFI.

Drive for quality 'must not be scandal-driven'

King's Fund fellow David Taylor has welcomed government initiatives to improve quality in healthcare, but warned there is a danger they could still be 'driven by scandals like those recently reported in Bristol'. In a King's Fund report, Professor Taylor says that there is more to quality management than 'punishing failures' and says staff should be encouraged to 'anticipate and avoid problems'.

Improving Health Care: the political and professional challenges of raising health care quality. The King's Fund bookshop, 0171-307 2591, price 9.95.

Trust sacks Bristol doctor who was not struck off

United Bristol Healthcare trust has sacked Janardan Dhasmana, the only doctor in the heart babies tragedy who was not struck off as a result of a General Medical Council hearing earlier this year. In a statement, the trust said that the decision to sack Mr Dhasmana had been made by trust chief executive Hugh Ross.

Some slippage in IT bug targets, admits Beckett

Margaret Beckett, who chairs the Cabinet committee responsible for dealing with the millennium bug, has admitted there has been 'some slippage' in a number of target dates for year 2000 compliance work on the government's own computer systems. More than half of all departments and agencies have completed at least 50 per cent of the work needed to eradicate the millennium bug from critical business systems. However, only a fifth have completed 90 per cent or more of the work.

See It Input, page 37.

Mental health and learning disability trusts merge

Three Suffolk trusts providing learning disability and mental health services are set to merge next April. Local Health Partnerships trust will be formed from Allington, East Suffolk Local Health Services and Mid Anglia Community trusts. The move is expected to save 1.4m a year.

Minister unveils scanner at independent hospital

Junior health minister Baroness Hayman has inaugurated a new magnetic resonance imaging scanner at King Edward Vll Hospital in Midhurst, an independent hospital run as a 'not-for-profit' charity.

'Non-cancer patients need palliative care'

A report from the National Council for Hospice and Specialist Palliative Care Services has called for more services to be made

more widely available to people dying from conditions other than cancer. Of the 420,000 people dying each year from

non-malignant conditions, some 250,000 will experience pain and 200,000 will suffer from breathlessness, says the report.

Reaching Out: specialist palliative care for adults with non-malignant diseases. The National Council for Hospice and Specialist Palliative Care Services. 1 Great Cumberland Place, London W1H 7AL. 5.