After last week’s universal coverage of the health secretary’s will he/won’t he appearance at the Royal College of Nursing congress, the media headed towards the Easter break with a fairly united front over the availability of NHS treatments.

The Guardian led on Monday with a warning: “Patients suffer as operations are rationed”.

The Federation of Surgical Specialty Associations has written a letter to the paper claiming that a growing number of patients were being left in “pain, discomfort and misery” because primary care trusts were rationing procedures deemed to be of low clinical value.

The Daily Mail and The Times meanwhile warned that pregnant women with severe morning sickness were being “denied effective drugs” because of the shadow of the thalidomide scandal and because “the condition is trivialised by GPs”.

The Sunday Telegraph also reported that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence was drawing up guidance on treatments for social anxiety disorder – or “shyness”.

The Financial Times stated that drug company Reckitt Benckiser intended to “vigorously defend” itself against an £89m lawsuit from the NHS alleging that it behaved anti-competitively over its heartburn treatment Gaviscon.

The FT also noted that the “poor quality” of Westminster policy making was “under fire” from an Institute for Government report. The first example listed by the paper was the Health and Social Care Bill.

The Daily Mail meanwhile claimed the government’s “dramatic overhaul of the NHS could be delayed for years” after David Cameron appeared to indicate in a Sky interview that the reforms could take longer to implement than planned.

The Telegraph also picked up the story, quoting Mr Cameron as saying: “It’s much more important to get this right than to stick to your original timetable in every way.”

It also quoted him as saying Andrew Lansley was doing “an excellent job” – but failed to elaborate on whether he meant the NHS reforms or winding up nurses.