Not of a lot of festive cheer in evidence just yet: the health secretary’s latest strategy for the NHS, intended to take it from “good to great”, was met with a determined lack of enthusiasm from The Daily Telegraph, Independent and Financial Times. They all took the view that it meant hospitals face a four year spending squeeze.

Despite the warnings of a lack of cash the News of the World was aghast at Department of Health plans to encourage the prescribing of generic drugs over brand names. Under the headline “It’s cheap medi-sin”, it suggested patients’ lives were at risk.

The News of the World was aghast at Department of Health plans to encourage the prescribing of generic drugs over brand names

A more local story showed how hard it is going to be for managers to save money while keeping the public away from their placards. The Ham & High of north London wrote the Whittington Hospital “could be closed” after suggestions its A&E department might be shut.

At least swine flu figures suggest that cases are declining at the moment.

Apparently Mail on Sunday columnist Lauren Booth could have told us not to bother with all the planning because “like thousands of mums nationwide” by the early summer she had worked out that swine flu was not going to be so bad after all.

Her column accused the government of a knee jerk over stockpiling antivirals; and apparently getting the world’s scientists to develop a vaccine fast “just doesn’t make good medical sense”.

Ms Booth went on to describe her clinical expertise as that of a “family health tsarina” when compared with the “jittering blunderers” at the DH. Pity she described the drug Tamiflu as an “antiviral vaccine” in her article.

We must wait until the end of the week before the Christmas issue of BMJ drives headlines about mince pies reducing depression.