Before the election officially kicked off, the newspapers found space to devote to goings on in the NHS.

The Guardian and Daily Mirror gave a lot of coverage to comments by John Appleby of the King’s Fund that Conservative claims that a national insurance freeze will save the NHS £200m was a “sleight of hand”.

The think tank insisted that Professor Appleby had not accused the Conservatives of dishonesty, but shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley and shadow chancellor George Osborne were both forced into providing lengthy statements in response.

On Monday Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust found itself in the eye of the storm.

The trust is offering a 10 week English course to some of its staff who do not speak English as their first language. The Daily Mail used probably the longest headline of the day to describe the story with “Revealed: Hospital has staff from 70 countries as nurses who don’t even understand ‘nil by mouth’ forced to take English lessons”. The Daily Star opted for the other extreme with the concise “Foreign nurses’ English shocker”.

The Sun and Mail were not finished there, however. Both carried stories that the government had apparently broken a pledge not to send patient care records overseas for data processing, which the red top described as “NHS patients secrets outsourced to India”.

Meanwhile those “gold plated pensions” for public sector workers were back in the news, after the CBI said what the Daily Mail described as the “pensions apartheid” between private and public sector must stop.

Back with the election, The Independent gave readers a bite size summary outlining the health policies of the three major parties.