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DH ‘ready to compromise’ on health bill, Labour changes policy on CCGs and why beta blockers are not just for heart failure

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Monday 10 October.

After more than 2,000 people, including GPs, blocked Westminster Bridge on Sunday in protest at NHS reforms, many of today's papers discuss the chances of the Health and Social Care Bill surviving a rebellion in the House of Lords.

The Guardian reports Labour, now represented by shiny new shadow secretary Andy Burnham, would be willing to co-operate on giving GPs greater commissioning powers, but only if ministers scrap the bill.

The change in Labour policy comes as a University of London report suggests that Government claims that competition has improved quality in the NHS and has saved lives are based on flawed research. The Independent reports on Professor Allyson Pollock, from Queen Mary, University of London, writing in The Lancet that a study used by David Cameron to back the case for more competition in the NHS was littered with errors.

Meanwhile the Telegraph reports ministers are considering making more concessions to ensure the health bill is not delayed further, specifically to ensure that the responsibility on the secretary of state to provide free and comprehensive healthcare remains intact.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley is thought to be deeply concerned about the outcome of the vote. Opponents believe about 80 crossbenchers and Liberal Democrats will have to vote against the bill to stall it.

The same paper reports on a BBC Politics Show investigation which found that the number of people registered with GPs in London is at least a million higher than the actual population. The total is approximately 9 million, compared with the 7.75 million population, a series of Freedom of Information requests has found.

The system has become ‘a real mess' because of the difficulty in keeping track of people moving around the city, Labour MP Emily Thornberry has said, while the LMC said names could easily vanish by mistake.

GP Telegraph columnist Dr Max Pemberton writes that regulations to tighten controls over foreign doctors' command of English don't go far enough - and ignore increasingly important healthcare assistants.

The Mail reports that beta-blocker pills costing just 5p a day could  save the lives of thousands of patients with the deadliest form of skin cancer, researchers claim. Beta blockers have been shown in Ohio State University research to reduce the death rate by 13% by preventing tumours spreading to other organs.


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