The traditional “nil-by-mouth” approach to preparing patients for surgery may be on the way out, with NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh among those suggesting patients may fare better if they “eat and drink like marathon runners” before going under the knife, reported the Times.

Patients who “load up with carbohydrates beforehand can better cope with the trauma of surgery”, said Sir Bruce.

Elsewhere, the Observer and others picked up on a survey that found the majority of doctors – 54 per cent – would support measures to deny treatment to smokers and the obese.

The newspaper said the poll had sparked a row over the NHS’s growing use of “lifestyle rationing”. Royal College of GPs chair Clare Gerada told it doctors should not be “blackmailing” people.

The Times, meanwhile, reported on another survey, this time for the Teenage Cancer Trust, which suggests GPs miss common signs of cancer in about a third of teenage sufferers. “Twelve per cent of the teenagers said their GP had accused them of ‘attention seeking’,” it said.

The Guardian revealed private equity tycoon Guy Hands is poised to snap up Britain’s largest care home chain – Four Seasons Health Care – which looks after 25,000 people in 500 homes and is “struggling under debts of £780m”.

And finally, it seems the NHS is turning into the “World Health Service”. So says the Sun, which reported fears that “thousands of foreigners” could be getting free NHS treatment because “no documents are needed to sign up with a GP”.

It did not disclose the news that more than a third of doctors and a fifth of total NHS staff are from abroad until the very bottom of its story.