'Immigrants with cancer 'could swamp the NHS',' read The Daily Mail's headline. It quoted Lancet Oncology editor David Collingridge, who said so many East European migrants have arrived in Britain in recent years that the NHS may struggle to cope with the subsequent rise in cancer patients.

Dr Collingridge said that 'clearly, any increase in population over a short period of time will put considerable pressure on, and possibly overwhelm, NHS infrastructure'. Not so, came the response from the Department of Health, insisting the NHS could cope with demand from immigrants.

The Times followed The Daily Mail's theme, revealing a 'confidential internal report' from the government on health tourism which, it said, showed that the bill for treating foreign patients amounts to at least£62m a year.

The report - a survey of NHS trust managers - found trusts are failing to ensure proof of eligibility for treatment and are 'chasing only around half of the debts owed'. The article claimed the NHS was being left with a shortfall of more than£30m a year and that 'taxpayers are picking up the bill'.

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph gave space to Willem Buiter, a former Bank of England executive appointed by prime minister Gordon Brown as a founder member of the bank's Monetary Policy Committee, who called on the government to 'abolish the NHS and replace it with a system of mandatory private health insurance'.

September should see an end to the papers' silly season - and the start of the party conference circus.