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More A&E chaos, NHS 111 blamed, while Labour calls summit to fix things

Alarming front-page headlines this morning – including the ‘NHS is dying’ from the Mirror and ‘Third world NHS’ from the Sun – as more than a dozen hospitals declare major incidents and waiting times hit a 10-year low.

Labour have now called on the Government to hold an ‘urgent summit’ on how to alleviate the pressure on A&E, reports the BBC, but the Tories claimed that the crisis is only ‘short-term’ and that Labour were ‘milking it for political gain’ when it is really all their fault for ‘botching the 2003 GP contract’, explains the Mail.

Elsewhere the Times splashes on how NHS 111 has been blamed for ‘helping to tip hospitals into meltdown’, with untrained call handlers needlessly sending people to A&E .

Gordon Miles, chief executive of the College of Emergency Medicine, told the paper: ‘The data we’ve seen on NHS 111 performance clearly shows that they refer more patients to A&E at weekends.’

In other news, the BBC reports that Oxford University scientists are embarking on a trial of another experimental drug to treat Ebola.

The antiviral – brincidofovir – is being tested on Ebola patients on a voluntary basis and results are expected in a few months.

Brincidofovir is one of a handful of drugs that have already been given to patients pn an ‘ad hoc, compassionate basis’ but have not yet been trialled.

Professor Peter Horby, one of the investigators, said: ‘Conducting clinical trials of investigational drugs in the midst of a humanitarian crisis is a new experience for us all, but we are determined not to fail the people of West Africa.

‘We are trying a number of different approaches simultaneously as there is only a short window of opportunity to tackle this virus during the outbreak.’