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Daily Digest 1 December 2009

Today's roundup - including the thumbs down for cancer care and questions over the 'mysterious' Dr Foster.

By Ian Quinn

Today's roundup - including the thumbs down for cancer care and questions over the 'mysterious' Dr Foster.

The quality of cancer care comes in for a major pasting in today's newspapers. The Telegraph splashes with news of a report by the cancer tsar, Professor Mike Richards, claiming nine out of 10 NHS trusts in England are failing to provide a good standard of cancer care compared to other countries in Europe.

It reports that of 152 trusts, only Telford and Wrekin matched what was seen as a ‘good' European standard for colorectal cancer, while Kensington and Chelsea was the only trust coming up to scratch when it came to lung cancer treatment.

The Daily Mail focuses on a report by the All Party Parliamentary Cancer Group, which alleges patients with prostate cancer receive far worse care on the NHS than women with breast cancer.

As well as being anti-European and sexist, our cancer strategies also appear to be ageist - so perfect tabloid material - with the report claiming as many as 15,000 over-75s die because they are less likely to be offered life-saving cancer treatment than younger ones.

It's not been a good week for the NHS when it comes to the rating of services, with stories of blood splattered hospital corridors and soiled sheets coming almost as thick and fast as Tory press releases on the matter.

But The Independent turns its scrutiny on one of the sources behind the information which has been used to make the headlines, the consultant firm it bills as the mysterious Dr Foster .

The newspaper asks whether the company, which recently lost its contract to run the controversial NHS Choices website, still has too much influence in the NHS and whether its ratings are fair.

There's not much room for the chill-out factor in today's health stories. The Mail reports on research claiming users of the ultra-potent skunk weed are seven times more likely to develop psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia than those who stick to good old traditional hash.

But according to the Telegraph, its not skunk or hash you should turn to for a healthy mind when the rest of the NHS around you is going to pot... but the gym.

It carries news of research among more than a million young men, which finds the fittest perform best in intelligence tests, research which really does take some believing given the average brain cell count of our super fit professional footballers.

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know and we'll update the digest throughout the day...

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