This site is intended for health professionals only

New foreign doctor scandal, 1 in 4 trusts failing hygiene standards, and Iona Heath speaks out over ‘dehumanising’ hospital care

By Gareth Iacobucci

Our roundup of the news headlines on Wednesday 17 March.

'Fatal blunder of foreign doctor' is the all-too familiar front page headline in the Daily Mail, who report that a grandmother died because of the ‘appalling blunders' by a German surgeon flown in by the NHS to perform a routine hip operation, in a case they say has echoes of the Daniel Ubani case.

It's not a good day for hospitals, with the Guardian leading on the news that a quarter of NHS trusts are failing to meet the Care Quality Commission's hygiene standards for protecting patients against hospital bugs. The paper adopts the tried and tested tabloid technique of depicting images of 'Blood-spattered walls and filthy ambulances ' as evidence of the deficiencies.

The Mirror is one of various papers to bring us news of a potential new method of fighting cancer. The paper reports on a new treatment called cryotherapy, which involves freezing tumours by at -30C. It says the treatment has already had success as an alternative to surgery and as relief from chemotherapy.

Elsewhere, The Telegraph report that providing women with the morning-after pill in advance does not reduce the unwanted pregnancy rate, according to a review of the evidence.

The Independent carries the recommendations from a new report from the centre-right think-tank Reform, which says politicians' cosy consensus on NHS 'must be broken'. The candidly titled ‘Fewer Hospitals, more competition' attacks, among other targets, Tory leader David Cameron over his planned moratorium on hospital configuration.

Also in the Indie, we learn that Prime Minister Gordon Brown's plan for free home care for the elderly are heading for a 'crushing defeat'' today in the House of Lords.

And RCGP President Dr Iona Heath, voted third in Pulse's most influential GP poll this week, also makes headlines today, with her call not to ‘dehumanise' hospitals by outlawing visitors from sitting on patients' beds and flowers from wards. Dr Heath's critique in her BMJ column is picked up by, among others, the Telegraph and The Mail this morning.

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

Daily Digest