Gordon Brown’s pledge to provide free one-to-one homecare by specialist nurses for cancer patients divided the newspapers.

The prime minister trumpeted the proposal in an Observer interview in which he vowed that patients must not feel they are treated as a number or a statistic. The Sunday Mirror’s “exclusive”, on the same day, claimed that 1.6 million people would benefit from the move and that £2.7bn would be saved from unnecessary hospital admissions.

Monday’s Daily Telegraph was cooler in its welcome, describing the policy as “just a bribe to voters”

But Monday’s Daily Telegraph was cooler in its welcome, describing the policy as “just a bribe to voters”. The paper gave prominence to Tory and Liberal Democrat suggestions that the £100m investment was incompatible with the NHS’s financial “black hole”.

The issue of GPs did not divide the media, however. The Daily Mail summed up the general reaction to latest NHS figures on satisfaction with GPs with the headline: “Higher pay, shorter hours… but complaints about GPs soar 12 per cent in ONE year.”

The Sunday Telegraph was equally angry at the statistics, which followed GPs’ pay increasing by an average of 47 per cent and nine out of 10 doctors stopping providing care at weekends. The paper’s investigation showed Islington in London to have most complaints, closely followed by Lincolnshire, Lambeth and Southwark.

The Scottish press had a different priority, with Scottish Government plans to tackle binge drinking. Bars could “soon be forced” to offer smaller glasses of wine, the Scottish Mail on Sunday lamented over plans for a mandatory 125ml measure. The paper also reported on Labour’s “backdoor ploy to ban Buckie” - a reference to the party’s alcohol commission which will examine Buckfast, the controversial caffeine rich tonic wine.