Media Watch: cuts, porridge and pigeons
There was a mixed bag of health stories across the nationals on Monday.
The Daily Telegraph was the most prolific. It reported that mental health units were the “latest to be axed” in the “radical cost-cutting shake-up of the NHS”.
The paper said it had uncovered evidence that mental health wards at eight hospitals were being downgraded or closed, while four specialising in the care of older patients had “fallen victim to cuts”.
The paper also revealed that dirty surgical instruments were putting “dental patients at risk”. Results from Care Quality Commission inspections, which the paper obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, showed one in nine dentists had breached infection control guidelines.
Examples included an opened intravenous needle kit stored in a fridge with packed lunches and a disinfection machine with a packet of porridge on top of it.
Meanwhile The Sunday Telegraph reported that “starvation and thirst” had killed 154 hospital patients last year. The story, based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, drew predictable outrage from the Patients Association and Age UK.
The Guardian covered a story revealed by HSJ last week that Virgin Care was facing a legal challenge over its planned takeover of children’s services in Devon.
The Times made a small contribution, running a brief on a warning from the Bone Cancer Research Trust that GPs were often misdiagnosing a condition called osteosarcoma.
Lastly, the Guardian found front page space to reveal a surge in “ludicrous or hoax” 999 calls. These included a man who asked for help because his pigeon was suffering from breathing difficulties and a man bleeding after squeezing a spot.