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  • John Hutton has replaced Paul Boateng as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health. He will cover social care and mental health issues. Mr Hutton is, like Mr Boateng, a lawyer; he was senior law lecturer at the University of Northumbria.

  • Sir Walter Bodmer has been appointed as Chairman of the National Radiological Protection Board. This is an independent statutory body which conducts research and provides advice on topics including the effects and risks of radiation. The Board also advises international organisations and provides services to industrial and other radiation users. Sir Walter is currently Principal of Hertford College and Honorary Head of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.

  • Professor Michael Rawlins, currently Chairman of the Committee on Safety of Medicines, has been appointed Chairman-designate of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, which will provide information and dissemination for supporting improvements in the effectiveness of healthcare.

  • The appointment of Professor David John Johns as Chairman of the Prescription Pricing Authority for three years has been announced. The Authority's main functions are to calculate sums due to pharmacists and dispensing doctors for prescriptions in England, provide GPs with information related to prescribing, administer the NHS Low Income Scheme, and detect and investigate prescription irregularities. Professor Johns has an international reputation in aeronautical, civil and mechanical engineering.

  • Sir Elton John has given the proceeds from a Geneva concert and charity auction to WHO. This donation will be used to purchase hepatitis B vaccine for developing countries and raise awareness of this major disease.

Sources: Press releases (DoH); Health Service Journal 5 November; press release (WHO)

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