Published: 20/05/2004, Volume II4, No. 5906 Page 6

The number of patients whose discharge from hospital has been delayed fell to just under 3,000 at the end of March, according to Department of Health figures. Since January 2004, a change in regulations has meant local authorities must reimburse the NHS for delays in hospital discharge if there is a council service failure.The most recent delayed discharge figure, before the system was changed, was 2,895, recorded in December last year.

www. dh. gov. uk

Health secretary John Reid has agreed a 2.5 per cent pay increase for trust chairs and nonexecutive directors for the last financial year, and an extra 2 per cent increase for 2004-05.Nonexecutive directors are now paid£5,673 per year and chairs at the highest-band trusts, primary care trusts and strategic health authorities can expect an increase to£21,882.

www. dh. gov. uk

Accenture has become the second company to pull out of the bidding to provide shared financial service centres to the NHS.The Department of Health wants to create a joint venture company, which can provide back-office functions to NHS organisations.Only three bidders now remain: ATOS Origin, Capita and Xansa.

www. sharedfinancialservices. co. uk

Second-hand tobacco smoke kills approximately one person a week who works in the UK hospitality industry, according to a study by the Royal College of Physicians and Imperial College London. It found that 42 per cent of people aged under 65 are exposed to smoke at home and 11 per cent at work.The research says 700 people a year die from lung cancer, heart disease or stroke because of passive smoking in the workplace.

www. rcplondon. ac. uk

Students funded by the NHS will receive help with childcare costs from September.Students with one child could get up to£114 a week and those with two or more could receive up to£170 a week.

www. pm. gov. uk