Unsurprisingly the health coverage this week was largely concerned with the blue half of the government ahead of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

Prime minister David Cameron kicked things off on Sunday with an appearance on the Andrew Marr Show primarily to defend public sector spending cuts.

But when asked by Mr Marr to “bring a little bit of hope and light” to proceedings, the Tory leader turned to health service plans.

Mr Cameron repeated the government’s pledge of real terms growth in NHS budgets during this Parliament, saying “the NHS is different, it is special”.

No mention, however, of the £15bn-£20bn savings needed just to keep up with the rising cost of health needs.

No reference either to the radical reforms in the white paper, or the considerable opposition to them in major parts of the service, including doctors and nurses.

But Mr Cameron did chip in with the announcement that £164m would be found to extend cancer screening programmes, especially for bowel cancer. He told Mr Marr the plan was about bringing Britain’s cancer screening up to date with the rest of Europe and would save 3,000 lives a year.

He became a little shy, though, about the details of the invasive diagnostic procedure involved.

“Flexi-sigmoidoscopy, I think it’s called,” he said. “But I won’t go into where the camera goes.”

Meanwhile, The Sunday Telegraph reported that former health secretary and Labour leadership loser Andy Burnham has been tipped for the shadow home secretary role in Ed Miliband’s opposition Cabinet.

The paper offered no clues as to who would replace the seemingly rejuvenated Mr Burnham in the shadow health role.

Sticking with the right-leaning press, Monday’s Daily Telegraph reported claims by the think tank Civitas that the NHS is a “closed shop” with anti-market bias.

Any NHS staff upset by the suggestion could potentially put their grief to good use, as the paper also reported research findings that “Protein in tears could cure MRSA”.