Health authorities and trusts can expect an influx of new women chairs and non-executive directors as ministers fall into line with the cross-government targets launched this week.

The government also announced that the proposed Freedom of Information Act would be extended to all quangos, including health service bodies.

The Cabinet Office this week said that half of all board members must be women by September 2001 - up from 43.2 per cent. The proportion of women chairs is expected to rise from 31.5 per cent to 40 per cent over the same period.

Launching the initiative, public service minister David Clark said ministers had agreed, in principle, proposals for a 50:50 ratio of women and men in public appointments and a pro-rata representation for people from ethnic minorities.

The Department of Health has already met its 7 per cent target for ethnic minority representation.

Quangos: opening the doors, and Quangos: opening up public appointments. Available from Rob Wall, Cabinet Office. Tel: 0171-270 1868. Free.