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New hope for male infertility, Budget box-set scandal and an eerie silence from the Daily Mail

By Lilian Anekwe

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Thursday 24 March.

Call me sad, but I came into the office at half past eight this morning to watch a live stream of the great and the good gathered at the King's Fund, listening avidly while various pointy-heads and policy wonks opined on general practice, and what they had found in their two-year, root and branch inquiry into the quality of primary care.

Many of the nationals were able to do it yesterday, and presumably were comfy in their beds or sipping lattes in the spring sunshine while I was bleary-eyed and still listening to a temperamental live stream.

Yes, I know, I too could have knocked something out from the embargoed press release and used the same quotes everyone else did, but I'm a virtuous journalist and as such a rare creature think you deserve better than that, dear reader. Only the best for you.

But if you care to know what was reported in an unfeeling and perfunctory way elsewhere, The Independent says that quality of NHS care provided by family doctors is ‘patchy and uneven'.

The Guardian says too many referrals are too slow and GPs need to sharpen up their prescribing.

And the Daily Telegraph invokes that phrase all the nationals love, the 'postcode lottery' in standards of GP care.

But incredibly, and I've been through it three times now, the Daily Mail did not report on the King's Fund inquiry. I can only assume they got the press release too so had, yet passed up, an opportunity to bash GPs.

Nothing in the paper. Not on how long patients wait for appointments, how shabbily GPs treat the elderly, or on them giving away drugs like smarties or a chemical cosh. Not a bean. Sinister.

The best health story the Mail has to offer is that one even I'm bored of – gender bender chemicals in non-stick pans could be sending women into an early menopause. The message here is grill your sausages, don't fry them.

The Independent and The Guardian say infertile men could be given new hope of fathering progeny after scientists grew mice sperm in a lab for the first time.

Oh, and there was a budget yesterday, too. Our man in Havana, who is actually senior reporter Gareth in the decidedly less glamorous Pulse Towers, says measures were set out to allow the pension age to rise to 65, and so does The Guardian, presumably as it knows better than to disagree with anything our man says.

The big budget casualty if you ask me is the closure of a loophole meaning the price of DVD box sets is set to rise. Think of the human casualties next time you curl up in front of your David Attenborough Life collection. That's when you'll really feel the pinch.

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

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