Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Article excerpt

Clare Short, the former international development secretary, has resigned the Labour whip after a long-running battle over the government's foreign and defence policies. Short, who plans to stand down at the next general election, will now sit in the Commons as an independent. She has been critical of the Iraq war and of government plans to replace its ageing Trident nuclear submarine fleet.

Hospitals with the worst staffing levels suffer the highest rate of mortality, according to new research. The UK study - part of a collaborative project in five countries - showed that hospitals in England with the worst nurse-patient ratio had a 26% higher death rate. Professor Anne Marie Rafferty, lead researcher on the study and a health services researcher from King's College London, said: 'We calculate that some 246 fewer deaths would have occurred in these 30 trusts had all the patients been treated in hospitals with the most favourable staffing levels.'

Tales of killer conkers, helmet-wearing trapeze artists and pole-bereft fire stations are not examples of 'health and safety gone mad' but are either untrue or simple misinterpretations of the regulations, the Trades Union Congress has said. In a report to mark Health and Safety Week, the TUC laid several of these 'myths' to rest, revealing, for example, that the infamous case of a pole-less fire station in Devon arose only because the new station did not have sufficient space.

The Audit Commission has appointed Gareth Davies as interim managing director of local government and housing to temporarily fill the space left by Frances Done when she left the commission on October 19. …

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