It's not been a great few days for the NHS in the national media this week, with extensive coverage of the Healthcare Commission's overview of how trusts handle patients' complaints.

"NHS fails to deal with half of complaints," The Daily Telegraph said, referring to findings that trusts' initial response to complaints was inadequate in 50 per cent of cases.

Perhaps less surprising, given that only dissatisfied patients would take their grievance to the commission, was the statistic that the greatest number of complaints were - wait for it - over the way trusts handled the original complaints.

Using some big numbers and a nifty bit of maths, the NHS Confederation's Nigel Edwards pointed out that in fact only 0.002 per cent of NHS treatments led to complaints - but unfortunately that did not make the headlines.

To back up the national picture, several papers gave a lot of space to an upheld complaint against Taunton and Somerset foundation trust by the family of an 80 year old man who died after walking home following a blood transfusion. As The Sun put it: "Docs let op man, 80, walk to his death", a contrast with the Telegraph, the only broadsheet to cover the story, which went for the more measured "Man, 80, died after walk home from hospital".

Meanwhile, possibly deliberately timed to coincide, the Daily Mail stuck the knife in with a story based on freedom of information requests, saying "Blunders force the NHS to cancel 1,000 operations a week".

As it turned out, "blunders" was rather a catch-all term. One suspects patients at the trust where 53 operations were halted because of a broken lift, for example, were probably relieved not to be given a piggyback to the operating theatre. But statistics relating to surgeons disappearing after a fire alarm or operations cancelled because of a lack of shavers do not make for good PR.

Still, if it has been a bad week, you can always take the new pill to erase bad memories. The Daily Express reported that volunteers who were administered electric shocks while being shown pictures of spiders indicated much less fear the day after taking the drug.