Professor Ray Jones, director of social services for Wiltshire county council, has been appointed chief executive of the newly created Social Care Institute of Excellence, a not-for-profit company which will evaluate developments and produce guidelines on best practice in social care.

Men in Barnet will live to an average age of 77.5 - or 7.3 years longer than men in Manchester who only live to an average 70.2 years according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.Kensington and Chelsea has the highest life-expectancy rate for women (82.4) while Glasgow has the lowest (76.5).

The Merseyside and Cheshire cancer services collaborative has cut waiting times - from referral to treatment - of bowel cancer patients attending Wirral hospitals from 130 days to 45 days, health minister John Hutton announced this week.He said that patients treated at 51 cancer collaborative sites across England waited two and a half weeks less for treatment than before the initiative started in November 1999.

The British Medical Association is calling on voluntary bodies and the pharmaceutical industry to reach a consensus on access to medicines in developing countries.

The BMA says 200,000 people die each week from preventable and treatable disease while voluntary groups criticise drug prices and profits and the drug industry concentrates on market expansion.

The Refugee Council and Save the Children say refugee children are being placed at risk due to a lack of support from the Home Office and the Department of Health.Naaz Coker, director of race and diversity at the King's Fund, said the asylum system was increasing isolation, fear and discomfort for refugee children.