As the coalition’s “pause” rumbles on so do the stories surrounding the fate of the Health and Social Care Bill.
The Financial Times reported on Monday that ministers have asked lawyers to consider whether potential changes to the bill could be so substantial that it will need to retrace the “committee stage” of its parliamentary passage.
The paper says this could add “months to the timetable”.
The FT – along with several other papers – also quotes King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham on various parts of the reform programme. It focused on his belief that the government should allow clinical networks to “make and buy” services.
The Guardian reported Professor Ham calling on Nick Clegg and David Cameron to end their public “arm-wrestling” over the health service, because it was “worrying and unsettling people in the NHS”.
In an apparent reflection of the prime minister’s personal intervention in the bill, health secretary Andrew Lansley received only the briefest of mentions.
Elsewhere the spotlight focused on clinicians themselves.
The Sunday Telegraph seemed unsure whether it liked GPs or not. It appeared to back Dr Richard Scott, in trouble with the GMC over “talking to a patient about God”, but also reported “doctors will be paid extra simply for telling patients to go on a diet”, as part of changes to the GP contract.
The Daily Mail reported “shocking findings” from Monday’s Dispatches programme on Channel 4, revealing that dentists are “pressurising patients to go private – even though they could get the same treatment far more cheaply on the NHS”.
The Times was surprisingly low key on health, choosing only to report on Monday that the NHS has been told by ministers to “produce women’s smear tests inside a week”.