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Media Watch: there's no news like old news

Some of the nationals could be forgiven this week for getting their definition of the word “news” a little tangled.

The Guardian reported that it had obtained documents showing the government would “franchise” the running of the health service to “a quango for up to three years at a time – a move that will result in an unelected academic and the nation’s 38,000 family doctors, rather than ministers, being accountable for the day to day running of the health service”.

Sounds familiar? The phrases “NHS Commissioning Board” and “GP commissioning” have been part of the health lexicon since soon after the formation of the coalition.

However, the paper said it had been leaked unpublished evidence submitted to the Commons health committee by national commissioning board chair Malcolm Grant.

The Times reported that “struck-off nurses are free to start work as healthcare assistants” – as they always have been.

The paper ran several front page stories last month calling for the regulation of healthcare assistants, a key argument in favour of which is to stop struck-off nurses returning to the front line.

Meanwhile, there was more bad news for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust on top of its recent drubbing over maternity standards.

The Daily Telegraph said a leaked letter about upcoming Dr Foster mortality scores would show it was the worst performing trust for avoidable deaths.

There was also an awkward story for Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust in the Daily Mail.

It revealed a woman spent £1,000 on “undercover” private carers to look after her mother while she was in Bradford Royal Infirmary, because of her doubts about nurse staffing levels.

The paper also reported that the number of serious complaints made about doctors to the General Medical Council had “soared” by almost 40 per cent in three years.

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