Front-line NHS services in Birmingham and the Black Country are facing a #100 million funding crisis.
Primary Care Trusts have been ordered by the Government to make significant budget cuts over the next three years, throwing into doubt a drive to address obesity and teenage pregnancies and reduce inner city health inequalities.
The five Birmingham PCTs will receive #84 million less funding than they had expected, while Black Country PCTs have been told their budgets will be reduced by about #13 million.
Hardest hit is the Eastern Birmingham PCT, which faces a #6.3 million shortfall next year, #9.4 million in 2007/08 and #12.6 million in 2008/09.
Birmingham transport bosses have been accused of hatching a "secret plan" to make the controversial suspension of a bus lane on a major city road permanent.
Passenger groups and environmentalists said the city council was applying for a permanent traffic regulation order to remove the Tyburn Road bus lane on March 18, prior to major roadworks on the M6.
Bus Users UK, Transport 2000 and Friends of the Earth said the order makes no commitment to reinstating the lane following the completion of the works.
The authority explained the current experimental traffic order, which initially suspended the lanes 18 months ago, was due to lapse in March.
NHS 'frequent flyers' who yo-yo in and out of hospitals with chronic conditions are more prevalent in Birmingham than anywhere else in the country, new research claims.
About 9,800 'high impact users' - many of whom suffer conditions such as lung disease, heart disease and diabetes - visited hospitals in the South Birmingham Primary Care Trust area more than once over the course of 2003/04, a new report claims.
The PCT also topped the costs league as it spent #20.75 million on repeat emergency treatment, the report by Dr Foster Intelligence said.
The report, entitled Keeping People Out Of Hospital, also claims valuable time and money could be saved if this group of patients was better cared for in the community.
Britain's elections watchdog has called on the Government to tighten up security in the electoral register to prevent postal voting fraud.
The Electoral Commission urged Ministers to switch from the existing system of registration by household to individual registration, with every voter providing their signature and date of birth as a security measure.
Chairman Sam Younger warned that, without this change, there would not be an "adequate" security system in place for postal voting by the time of the next General Election, expected in 2009.
The Commission's proposal reflected the recommendations of a Birmingham scrutiny committee which called for a complete overhaul of the way the electoral register is compiled following widespread postal vote fraud at the city's 2004 council elections.
See Tuesday's Birmingham Post for more on these stories