The Scottish National Party will put health at the top of its agenda when it announces its latest policy strategy, newly elected leader John Swinney has said. It is thought he wants to publish the SNP's proposals before publication of the modernisation plan for the Scottish NHS, due to be announced by health minister Susan Deacon next month. The SNP's health spokeswoman is now Nicola Sturgeon.She replaces Kay Ullrich, who is now chief whip.

Ian Wylie, director of corporate affairs at the King's Fund, has been appointed chief executive of the British Dental Association. He will take up his new post on 2 January next year.

The BDA published its evidence to the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body this week, calling for an 8 per cent pay increase to improve recruitment and retention. It warned that a shortage of dentists meant the government was unlikely to achieve its target of giving all patients access to an NHS dentist by September next year. It also published a survey showing 49 per cent of dentists had little confidence in the economic future of NHS dentists in the long term.

Health secretary Alan Milburn has ordered the Commission for Health Improvement to investigate St George's Hospital in south London, where it has emerged that eight out of 11 heart transplant patients have died in the past 10 months.

Health minister John Hutton has launched a 'keep warm, keep well' campaign to help older people this winter. The campaign includes a free advice line on 0800 085 7000.

An£11.6m 'walking the way to health' initiative has been launched to encourage 1.5 million inactive people in England to reduce their risk of heart disease by walking.

The initiative by the Countryside Agency and British Heart Foundation will support 2,000 'walking for health schemes' over five years.