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NHS adviser defects to Tories, new assisted suicide guidelines and is back pain ‘largely in the mind’?

By Steve Nowottny

Our roundup of news headlines on Friday 26 February.

The Times' second biggest story today focuses on a headline-grabbing defection to the Conservatives by ‘one of the architects of Labour's NHS reforms.'

The paper reports that Professor David Kerr, a renowned oncologist, lifelong Labour supporter and key adviser to Tony Blair, now believes the Tories would be best of the NHS, which he claims has been driven into ‘a whirl of thoughtless tick box exercises' – and is set to become a Conservative party adviser.

The Times is also one of a number of papers to report a warning from the Royal College of Surgeons that children awaiting surgery are having their operations cancelled because doctors are being forced to undergo a plethora of different criminal records checks – the Daily Mail also has the story.

The Telegraph front page includes a story based on a study published in the Lancet which found that ‘back pain may be largely in the mind and sufferers should seek psychological help'.

The BBC gives the story a slightly more sympathetic treatment, suggesting that group talking therapy is a cheap and effective way to alleviate low back pain.

The Daily Maill has another report about poor hospital conditions, claiming that ‘almost 50,000 health service patients a year are dying while suffering from malnutrition in hospitals in England.' The Independent also has the story, although it more explicitly attributes the claims to the Conservatives.

And there's a mixed reaction from the press to new guidance on assisted suicide.

The Daily Mail asks if new rules set down by the Director of Public Prosecutions which remove the risk of up to 14 years in jail for helping a loved one to commit suicide out of compassion are a ‘A licence to kill?'

But the Independent claims that the new rules have failed to settle debate, warning that supporters of a change in the law believe they have not gone far enough.

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

Daily Digest

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