East Anglian Ambulance trust, which was recently the subject of a critical report, has claimed that the introduction of six rapid-response vehicles helped improve its performance standards last month. The trust says it reached 92 per cent of 999 calls within the target 19 minutes, compared with 90.4 per cent in January.

The widow of a smoker who died of a heart attack after being refused surgery at Southampton General Hospital was awarded£40,000 by Southampton and South West Hampshire health authority in an out-of-court settlement last week. Car dealer John Gibson died more than five years ago. An HA spokesperson said his operation 'was deferred until he gave up smoking' and stopping smoking was 'an important part of treatment'.

The MSF union has accused Eastbourne Hospitals trust of using clinical governance to 'bully' pathology staff into accepting new trust contracts. A trust spokesperson said relying on 'voluntary' arrangements for out- of-hours service 'could result in risks to the continuity of patient service'.

The death of a patient who caught hepatitis B on the operating table was accidental, an inquest decided last week. Blodwen Jenkins died after hepatitis B-positive surgeon Sanjay Ingley nicked his finger with a scalpel during a hip replacement operation. The General Medical Council found Mr Ingley guilty of serious professional misconduct. Trust managers did not know he was carrying the virus.

Southport and Formby Community Health Services trust, Southport and Formby trust and West Lancashire trust will be dissolved on 1 April. North Sefton and West Lancashire Community trust and Southport and Ormskirk trust will replace them.

Three places are still available in this year's Roche NHS sailing regatta on 8-9 May, starting from Portsmouth. Contact Stephen Farey, 0113-2064882, for details.