Community reforms held up. . .Alan Langlands appointed. . .PM asked for pay guarantees. . .Fewer women appointed. . . north-south split

Implementation of the community care reforms is to be delayed, health secretary Kenneth Clarke announced. Keeping to the timetable could have led to an 'unacceptable burden' on poll-tax payers, he said, blaming bad management by local authorities.

Alan Langlands has been appointed general manager of North West Thames regional health authority for an interim six months.

Currently a management consultant with Towers Perrin and formerly district general manager of Harrow HA, he will temporarily replace David Kenny, who is ill.

Prime minister Margaret Thatcher has been asked to guarantee the future of the pay review body for professions allied to medicine by the staff side of the Whitley Council after NHS personnel director Eric Caines hinted that the review bodies and Whitley Council system could be dismantled within two years. Mr Caines has said that the first staff to be appointed outside Whitley rates could be healthcare assistants, currently being recruited.

The number of women on regional health authorities has fallen substantially.

Appointments of the 70 non-executives to the new RHAs reveal that women now make up only 22.6 per cent, a reduction from 35 per cent on the old RHAs. Only one regional chair is a woman - Julia Cumberlege at South West Thames. No RHA or district chair is from an ethnic minority.

A clear north-south divide governs private health insurance, with four times as many taking out cover in the South East as in the North. Figures for 1987 published last week show that 4 per cent of men and 3 per cent of women have cover in the North, compared to 16 and 14 per cent in the South East.