The NHS is heading for a record£1.8bn underspend this financial year, HSJ can reveal. The total surplus will be almost 2 per cent of the NHS budget. It is understood to be causing embarrassment at the Department of Health amid concerns that it will be accused of presiding over a 'bust and boom' health economy, coming just two years after the NHS was more than£500m in the red.

Questions have been raised over the 'bizarrely low', budget for establishing the new super-regulator.

The Department of Health's commercial directorate is to be scaled down and regionalised and procurement of NHS private sector capacity handed to local commissioners.

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NHS policy seems populated by some remarkably persistent ideas that pop up every decade or so, writes Sophia Christie.

Too many NHS staff are prone to ageism and reluctant to work with the elderly. In an ageing population, it's time they changed their attitudes, says David Oliver.

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Two years after its birth, the association representing NHS managers has made admirable strides but it still has a long way to go as it tries to boost their poor public image. By Helen Mooney.

Infant death and women's health are marked by inequality but outreach workers are now changing prospects, reports Caroline White.

Attracting the best applicants to a post is skilful work in itself. Stuart Shepherd talks to some top recruitment agencies.

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