Welsh secretary Ron Davies has issued a consultation paper asking for views on priorities for public spending in Wales. It acknowledges NHS Wales' 24bn budget - a third of the Welsh Office total - is 'under substantial pressure' but points out that 'any additions to one (area of spending) will have to be met at the expense of another.' Mr Davies said the consultation would 'make sure the Welsh Assembly inherits a spending pattern that reflects the needs of Wales.'

Spending plans 1999-2000 consultation paper. www.wales.gov.uk. Responses by October 30.

The Labour Party was due to launch a two-year health policy overhaul at its annual conference in Blackpool this week. A consultation paper for members says a second full term of Labour government would allow 'changes as radical and far-reaching as the founding of the NHS and welfare state.' It approaches the issue of rationing without mentioning the word by inviting views on 'how public onfidence in the NHS can be maintained by balancing people's expectations with what they are prepared to pay in taxes.' An 'official policy document' will follow in October next year.

Single mothers are twice as likely to smoke as other women, according to a five year study of 900 lone parents by the Policy Studies Institute for the Health Education Authority. Half of all lone mothers and three quarters of the most disadvantaged are smokers, according to the report, which calls for nicotine replacement therapies to be made available free to people on means tested benefits.

The Health Trap: poverty, smoking and lone parenthood. 13.95 from Grantham Book Services on 01476 541061.

Health Secretary Frank Dobson has approved a merger between Leicestershire Mental Health Service trust and Fosse Health trust. The merger will take effect from April 1 next year and will create a trust with a staff of 5,300 and a 130m budget.

Bogus telephone calls to health records departments have been catching trusts unawares, it has been claimed. The Institute of Health Record Information & Management (UK) says callers frequently pose as doctors, health service officials or trust employees to try and obtain confidential information. In one case a faxed request was made on paper with a forged trust letterhead; it was traced back to a private detective agency. The IHRM suspects many of these calls are by debt collectors. IHRM chief executive Brian Lund has written to the NHS Executive asking for trusts and health authorities to be alerted to the problem.

Children and young people should be active for an hour a day to enjoy good physical and mental health, according to a report from the Health Education Authority launched by public health minister Tessa Jowell last week. The report says many young people 'are not active enough to benefit their health' and recommends ways for schools and communities to help.

Young and Active? - policy framework for young people and health enhancing physical activity. Marston Book Services, 01235 465 565. 1.

Scottish health minister Sam Galbraith has opened a 3m Positron Emission Topography (PET) scanning centre in Aberdeen - the first of its kind north of Cambridge. PET involves the injection of a small amount of radioactive chemical into the body which is then detected and used to give images of the body's functions, rather than its anatomy.