'The focus has well and truly turned to the NHS, as it once again becomes the battleground for the next election'

Health minister Andy Burnham was left desperately defending the government's claim that NHS waiting lists are falling after the Sunday People's readers told him he was 'wrong'.

The paper said that despite Mr Burnham's defence of 'world-class' treatment offered to NHS patients, it had been 'inundated' with complaints. It detailed a number who said they had waited months for operations, and featured an investigation which claimed patients are more likely to be hit by a deadly superbug in an NHS hospital than in a war zone.

Meanwhile, the News of the World told its readers that Conservative leader David Cameron had joined the protest rally by junior doctors who marched in London and Glasgow this weekend complaining of a lack of opportunities.

The paper quoted Mr Cameron, who 'attacked the government's new training scheme for specialists'. The NHS featured again in Mr Cameron's speech to the Conservative spring forum yesterday when, according to the NotW, he said that the Labour government had 'ripped the heart out of our NHS and replaced it with a computer'.

The Express on Sunday also led on Mr Cameron's speech as he attacked the 'mind-blowing waste'. In what the paper claimed was 'an audacious bid to paint the Tories as the natural protectors of the NHS', Mr Cameron told his followers that 'today's Conservative Party backs the NHS, heart and soul'.

The focus has well and truly turned to the NHS, as it once again becomes the battleground for the next election.

One thing is for sure, there will be more mud-slinging to come.