This week Papworth Hospital in Cambridge found itself at the centre of a media storm. More used to making headlines about pioneering treatment, the hospital was in the spotlight as its heart transplants were halted due to an unexplained rise in death rates.

While Healthcare Commission inspectors began an investigation, reporters were left to speculate. 'Papworth has long said that its facilities are becoming unsuitable for such pioneering work,' said The Guardian.

The Independent claimed the case mirrored a similar spike in post-operation deaths at St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London, in 2000: 'A subsequent investigation found that many patients had been picked for transplant operations even though their physical condition should have ruled them out,' the paper said.

The Sunday Times followed up with claims from Chris Rudge, head of Transplant UK, that transplant surgeons are being forced to use 'imperfect' organs from older people because of a national shortage. 'A liver was even used from one woman who died on the eve of her 85th birthday,' the paper said.

Elsewhere, it has been a tough week for health service managers as the spectre of 'bed-blocking' came back to haunt them.

'In a scandalous waste of NHS resources, the number of blocked beds has risen by 30 per cent in just a year,' said the Daily Express, reporting figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats.

And just when you thought it was safe to step back into the ward, the Evening Standard warned of a 'deadly new superbug'. The glycopeptide-resistant Enterococcal (GRE) infection is on the rise and could 'take over', the paper said.

To top it all, 'health chiefs' stand accused of banning Christmas. 'Patients will be denied even that small helping of seasonal cheer as decorations are banned from wards because of the superbug epidemic,' said the Mail on Sunday.