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IT cash for GPs, a worm fit for a king and why a health minister took up smoking

Jeremy Hunt has magically unveiled millions of pounds of additional investment in the Independent this morning in order to make more progress on his promise that all patients will be able to book all their GP appointments and order prescriptions online by 2015.

The health secretary said the £240m fund will also ‘help ease pressure on A&E departments’ and ‘empower local clinicians and health services to come together and find innovative solutions for their patients’. No, I don’t know what that means either.

Mr Hunt said: ‘Technology is key to helping our A&E staff meet the massive demand they face as the population increases and ages.  This is something on which the Government must and will succeed.’

Moving on, another health minister has managed to reignite (geddit?) the debate over plain packaging for cigarettes in the Mirror this morning after admitting that she started smoking because of the ‘glamorous’ way tobacco was packaged.

Anna Soubry told MPs the ‘power of the package’ was one of the reasons she took up smoking at 17, despite the Government shelving plans earlier this year to introduce plain packaging.

She said: ‘I have never forgotten the first time I bought a packet of cigarettes and I deliberately chose a packet of St Moritz because they were green and they were gorgeous and they were a symbol of, may I say, glamour.’

From glamour to royalty – today’s digest has it all. According to BBC News, Richard III had evidence of roundworm in his guts. The ‘king under the car park’ was likely to have had an extremely nutritious diet, the BBC informs us, so he may not have noticed many symptoms, apart from a dry cough. Lucky him.