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Tories promise Sunday access to GPs, NHS managers’ 7% pay rise and the fattest town in Britain

By Steve Nowottny

Our roundup of the news headlines on Monday 12 April.

The next few days should see the general election campaign kick up a notch, with the launch of the three main parties' election manifestos – and health already looks to be front and centre in the policy debate.

The Times follows up on stories over the weekend reporting that seven-days-a-week access to GPs will be at the heart of the Conservatives' manifesto, due to be launched tomorrow.

There's precious little more detail than appeared yesterday, notably in the Sunday Telegraph, and there's widespread confusion on Fleet Street about the difference between extended hours and out-of-hours cover, it seems. But the Times quotes shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley as saying that widening access to allow patients to visit a local GP 12 hours a day, seven days a week will involve changing the terms of the GP contract – meaning a significant change, rather than mere expansion of Darzi centres' roles, may be in the offing.

The Labour Party, meanwhile, unveils its manifesto today, and it's heavily trailed in the Guardian. It's expected to centre on a pledge to allow hospitals, as well as schools and even police forces, to be subject to takeover if they are judged to be failing, in a move Gordon Brown is to promise will bring an end to ‘take it or leave it' public services.

Database errors which caused hundreds of thousands of potential organ donors to have their wishes incorrectly recorded could indirectly lead to patients' deaths, the Telegraph warns today.

Patients' groups are warning that trust in the register could collapse after details of the errors emerged – an investigation has already uncovered 21 cases where organs were removed that the deceased had not wished to donate.

Senior NHS managers' average pay rise last year was more than double that of nurses, according to a widely covered report by Income Data Services. The BBC, among others, says the average pay rise for a senior NHS manager was nearly 7% in 2008-9 – compared with less than 3% for the average nurse (and probably considerably less than 3% for the average GP).

And finally… a survey based on lifestyle interviews with 16 million people has claimed to uncover ‘Britain's fattest town'.

According to the Daily Record, Coatbridge, in Lanarkshire, Scotland, won the unenviable title after the poll found that more than a fifth of its residents were clinically obese, with a body mass index of 30 or more. The north-east of Glasgow, Methil in Fife and Walsall came a close joint second.

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