No single, major health story seemed to grab the attention of the national media at the start of this week – the papers instead mostly opted to write about nurses’ shoes and a missing filing cabinet.
NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent attracted unwanted coverage in many papers after it got into trouble with the information commissioner for sending a filing cabinet with a CD containing patient information to a landfill site.
The banning of nurses from wearing Crocs under the all-Wales NHS dress code was picked up by most of the national papers, with the Daily Mail opting for the headline: “Nurses banned from wearing Crocs over elf ‘n’ safety”.
The main health story over the weekend was that Liberal Democrat activists had “failed in a bid to force a vote” on more changes to the Health and Social Care Bill at their autumn conference in Birmingham.
The BBC reported that former MP Evan Harris had called for delegates to be allowed to debate the bill. Delegates voted in favour of allowing an emergency motion to be debated, but it did not pass the threshold for consideration.
Meanwhile, The Times reported that cancer patients were receiving letters from the government telling them their employment and support allowance would be cut from April, even though – according to the paper – the welfare legislation needed to introduce the cut looks set to be defeated by the Lords.
The Daily Mail also reported “alarm” as “cases of new superbug strains surge”. The story, based on Health Protection Agency figures, warns that there have been 386 cases of infections resistant to carbapenem antibiotics – given to patients as a last resort – so far this year, more than for the entire period from 2003-10.
In happier news, the paper revealed that two cups of coffee a day can significantly reduce the risk of stroke.