Today´s industrial action by doctors over pensions dominates health headlines in the broadsheets this morning.
The Daily Telegraph claims support for the strike – the first in nearly 40 years – has crumbled after a survey of 20 PCTs found two thirds of GP surgeries expected to have all their doctors working and would be open for business as usual.
Under the terms of the BMA ballot, GPs were expected to refuse to see patients unless they were in urgent need, while hospitals were supposed to cancel all non-urgent surgery such as hip replacements and cataracts.
The Telegraph says the slump in support for industrial action follows fierce public criticism and claims that doctors are being “greedy and immoral”. One poll on Wednesday found that only a third of the public backed the action.
The Independent takes a similar line, predicting “minimal” disruption to the NHS from the action.
The paper says that while the BMA claimed four out of five hospitals would be affected, reports from hospitals across the country suggest only a handful of operations and a small number of outpatients’ appointments will be postponed.
Among GPs, less than a quarter are expected to join the strike, the Indie says.
Meanwhile, the Guardian leads on health secretary Andrew Lansley urging doctors not to take part in the industrial action, branding it “pointless”.
Speaking on ITV’s Daybreak, Mr Lansley accused the BMA of wanting a pension deal that would decrease those of lower-paid NHS staff. “We needed something that was fairer for other NHS staff as well. The contributions do need to be properly progressive and they do need to reflect the highest paid paying a greater proportion into their pensions overall.”
Over at the tabloids, the Sun says eating disorders are ruining OAPs lives.
The paper cites research among 2,000 women over 50 in the US which suggests eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia – always seen as a mainly teenage issue – also blight the older generation including many pensioners.
Some 70 per cent were still battling to lose weight and 62 per cent believed their shape had a negative impact on their life, the research showed.
Eight per cent purged food, four per cent binged and another eight per cent took sometimes risky diet pills or exercised excessively.
Of the women interviewed by researchers at the University of North Carolina, 29 per cent were overweight and 27 per cent were obese, the Sun says.
And the Daily Mail reveals that doctors have solved the 37 year-old mystery of the man who “died laughing” while watching The Goodies.
Mr Alex Mitchell died watching the famous “Ecky Thump” episode of the TV comedy.
According to the Mail, the clue came when Mr Mitchell’s granddaughter suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest while relaxing at her home.
Doctors subsequently diagnosed her with Long QT syndrome, a rare form of heart disease which causes irregular heartbeats.
As the condition is hereditary, they believe Mr Mitchell, a bricklayer who lived in Norfolk, must have also suffered from it and triggered a collapse with his laughing fit.