Health policy has been a little further than usual from the front pages this week, with the national dailies bingeing on the phone-hacking scandal.

The suggestion that hacks illegally accessed medical records of Gordon Brown’s son Fraser did briefly provide a much needed NHS angle on the affair.

However, the story crumpled quickly in the form of a rare denial by News International and a buried apology in the Guardian, which reported the initial investigation.

A study which found that up to 100,000 nursing posts – more than a quarter of the workforce – could be lost over the next decade fell victim to poor timing.

It was barely reported in the broadsheets, cropping up only as a brief on page 10 of the Daily Telegraph on Monday, although it received slightly more coverage online and in the Mirror.

Dependably different was the Daily Express, which on Monday splashed with a Cancer Research UK study showing that survival rates in the disease have doubled over the past 30 years, although there are more recorded cases overall.

The Guardian also ran the story, attributing saved lives to an increase in screening programmes.

Most papers are following the development of the apparently sabotaged saline solution which led to deaths at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.

At the moment the story looks more like an old-fashioned crime tale, and it is unclear whether there will be any implications for health policy.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail got in early with a “landmark” legal case which was due to be heard this week. An unnamed NHS trust is being taken to the Court of Protection by a family who want their “minimally conscious” relative to be allowed to die.