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Lansley to fine hospitals for readmissions; hay fever jab by next year; ‘smile and be happy’… say £40,000 NHS posters

By Ian Quinn

Our roundup of health news headlines on Tuesday 8 June.

Today's papers focus on moves by health secretary Andrew Lansley to fine hospitals for emergency readmissions of patients within 30 days of discharge.

Mr Lansley, who will surely be needing hospital treatment himself soon if he doesn't slow down with his NHS reforms agenda, unveiled his plans to the national press in advance to make sure they had plenty of time to give prominent coverage to his speech outlining his vision for the NHS.

The move is heralded as the start of the Con-Dems rolling back the previous Government's target-led measures, including the 18-week target for hospital treatment, although the papers point out that tackling the 500,000 patients who end up in a revolving door back to a hospital bed within 30 days will be a huge test for the new health secretary's resolve.

Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph reports the ever-so-slightly against-the-trend move by NHS Oxfordshire to spend £40,000 on posters telling people on council estates to smile more.

The Daily Mail, in the few column inches not devoted to its campaign to exterminate the fox, reports that a vaccine to ease the symptoms of hay fever could be available by next year.

It also carries a somewhat comedy guide claiming to inform readers how healthy their lunch is.

According to the Mail's health experts a leak and potato soup with bread roll is the way forward, scoring a whopping ten out of ten, and far more healthy than sushi apparently. It also rates a McDonald's Big Mac as twice as healthy as a pesto and chicken pasta salad.

If only those Italians and Japanese scoffed Big Macs washed down by leak soup all day, they would surely avoid the need for hospitals altogether.

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

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