The Department of Health paid 95.3 per cent of its bills on time last year, meeting targets set by the Department of Trade and Industry. But the DoH will have to meet a 97.5 per cent target this year and a 100 per cent target next year, small firms minister Barbara Roche told MPs.

Prisons should consider routine screening of inmates with a drug problem for HIV and for hepatitis B and C, MPs said this week. The all-party parliamentary drugs misuse group also called for anonymous sampling from all prisoners to uncover the prevalence of the conditions.

Prisons and Drug Misuse. Waterbridge House, 32 Loman Street, London SE1 0EE. Free with SAE.

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Two HIV charities, the Aled Richards Trust and the George House Trust, claimed that the House of Lords vote against lowering the age of consent for gay men will 'cost lives' by making it difficult to get messages about safe sex to teenagers.

The Community Practitioners and Health Visitors' Association has welcomed the government's 540m 'sure start' scheme, which is intended to provide support for families with young children.

Alan Howarth, minister for disabled people, has launched a white paper setting out the government's proposals for a disability rights commission. It will have 10-15 commissioners, a majority of whom will be disabled people, and will prepare codes of good practice, advise on disability law and 'work towards the elimination of discrimination against disabled people'.

St George's Hospital in Tooting, south west London, is recalling 1,036 women who attended its colposcopy clinic for checks following abnormal cervical smear tests results. The move follows a two-month review of treatment received by 5,000 women seen by doctor Graham Barker, who joined the hospital 10 years ago.