In brief

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 25 March 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:822

NHS trust's chairwoman dismissed: Mrs Mary Styth, chairwoman of North Lakeland Healthcare NHS Trust, has been dismissed after an internal inquiry into allegations of abuse and mismanagement from 1996 to 1998. The allegations included brusque and uncaring attitudes, and rough handling of patients. An independent external review panel will investigate the issues further.

Chairman of Alder Hey Hospital resigns: Frank Taylor, chairman of the Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital, Alder Hey, has resigned after the hospital confirmed that it was unable to find the organs of a child, Stephen White, who died in 1992. The health minister, Lord Hunt, has called for a report, which will go to the inquiry team looking at the issue of organ retention at Alder Hey.

Male sperm counts remain steady: Today's men produce as many sperms as their grandfathers did, according to a study in this week's Fertility and Sterility journal. A team at the University of Southern California collected semen samples from 1385 men in the Los Angeles area between 1994 and 1997. No significant differences were found when these samples were compared with a 1951 study.

Patient with MS acquitted after using cannabis: A man with multiple sclerosis, Thomas Yates, aged 51, has been found not guilty of producing a controlled drug after police found 40 cannabis plants growing at his home. Like other patients with MS, he relied on the defence of necessity, arguing that cannabis was the only drug that eased his pain without side effects.

UK government to recruit extra drugs counsellors: The UK government has launched an advertising campaign to recruit up to 300 extra drugs counsellors to the prison service, probation service, the police, the voluntary sector, and local authorities.

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