Report: A surge in 'palliative' patient deaths has been noted, sparking fears of a cover up on mortality rates. How did your hospital do?
Perryfields High School had to borrow a million pounds from Sandwell council to create 28 new classrooms
A statue has been unveiled to commemorate a strike by 800 women chain makers credited by improving many working lives
Hospitals could be covering up poor treatment by fiddling death rates, experts warned today, as a new report reveals a dramatic rise in the number of people listed as needed palliative care.
Two Midland heath trusts were named by analysts Dr Foster in the top 20 across the country for the highest increase in palliative patients.
Palliative care includes treatment to help relieve suffering when a patient has a terminal illness, and patients who die under such care are recorded differently to others - leading to fears the increase could indicate a cover-up by heath bosses to make their death figures seem better than they are.
Across England last year, 36,425 deaths were coded as palliative - 17.3 per cent of the total number of deaths. This is almost double the 9.1 per cent recorded in 2008.
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust in the West Midlands and Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were both named in the top 20.
Two West Midlands Police officers have been jailed after admitting stealing money and cigarettes from a house they were searching last July.
Mark Davis, 30, and Neil Samuels, 33, who were both response officers in Sandwell, have been sentenced to 20 weeks in prison.
Both PCs pleaded guilty at a hearing at Birmingham Magistrates' Court in February to stealing while searching a property in Oldbury.
– Superintendent Tim Godwin
Police officers take a vow to serve the public and uphold the law with fairness, integrity and impartiality. Any that fall short of those standards, or who abuse their position, will face disciplinary action, the prospect of criminal prosecution and potential dismissal.
As soon as the pair were suspected of acting improperly an investigation was launched culminating in the dedicated integrity test and their arrests and suspensions.
Five men from Sandwell have been arrested as customs officers probe a £120 million tobacco smuggling fraud.
Around 130 investigators teamed up with West Midlands Police for a series of early morning raids at 10 houses and three commercial properties in Smethwick, West Bromwich and Great Barr.
It comes after officials seized 16,000,000 cigarettes and £600,000 cash.
Two men aged 39 and 41 were arrested from Smethwick, along with two aged 37 and 39 from Great Barr, and a 39-year-old man from West Bromwich.
One lane closed is on the A41 southbound due to a lorry fire and recovery work.
The lorry is the junction with Halford's Lane uutside The Hawthorns, between the M5 and Handsworth.
Congestion back to the M5 to leave the motorway at junction one, with queues tailing back to the southbound M6.
Thirty firefighters were called to tackle a blaze which swept through a West Bromwich scrap yard overnight.
Several cars were destroyed in the fire, which broke out at the yard in Lath Lane late yesterday evening.
Scrap yard fire in progress in Lath Lane, West Bromwich. 5 fire engines and 1 aerial in attendance......more to follow
Scrap yard fire in Lath Lane, West Bromwich is now under control. Majority of the fire is now out, approx 6 vehicles still alight.
Ten war medals were stolen by thieves who smashed their way into a car in Sandwell.
The medals had all been awarded to a Royal Engineer in the Second World War - but his relatives have been left devastated after they were taken in the smash-and-grab raid.
They belonged to his granddaughter, who is offering a reward for anyone who returns them safely.
She had parked her car in Junction Street, Oldbury, overnight on March 3 as she was in the process of moving house - and the thieves seized the opportunity to strike, making off with two boxes of ornaments, a crystal rose vase and the ten medals.
Firefighters are still at the scene of a major fire at a recycling plant in Tipton.
One water jet is still in use this morning as crews tackle the blaze. Residents living in the area have been warned to keep their doors and windows closed due to the amount of smoke.
The #tiptonfire is still causing large amounts of smoke in the area, residents need to keep their doors and windows closed.
A woman has admitted driving the wrong way along a stretch of the M5 motorway in the West Midlands, whilst under the influence of alcohol.
Katy Homer was stopped by officers in December 2013.
The 26-year-old, from Clent View in Halesowen drove into the path of vehicles, including heavy goods lorries, as she travelled north from Oldbury to West Bromwich on the southbound carriageway.
Homer, who admitted dangerous driving and driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs, is due to be sentenced on 28 March.
#VTNEW: Services through Sandwell & Dudley may be delayed by around 20 minutes due to signalling problems.
A road through Oldbury in Sandwell is currently blocked as the level crossing barriers are stuck in the down position.
Crosswells Road, which crosses the rail line leading to Langley Green railway station, is blocked at the junction with Thompson Road.