This site is intended for health professionals only

NHS sets election battle agenda, a leukaemia vaccine is tested, and why a smacked child is a successful child

By Steve Nowottny

Our roundup of news headlines on Monday 4 January 2010.

It's 2010, the start of a new year – and the start of the general election campaign too, if this morning's papers are to be believed. And while hostilities have only just got underway, early signs are that the NHS is once again set to be a – if not the - key political battleground.

The Guardian is one of several papers to trail a speech by David Cameron this morning, as he unveils the Conservative party's manifesto on the NHS. A new maternity service and diverting more NHS funding to deprived areas are set to be two key planks of the manifesto (full coverage of the manifesto on PulseToday as soon as it's launched, of course).

The Daily Mail carries a sad story highlighting a controversial funding decision by Wiltshire PCT – ‘NHS refuses free care for Alzheimer's gran who lived for four days with body of dead husband' is the story in a headline.

The Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, reports that a vaccine for leukemia is about to be tested on human patients for the first time. A small clinical trial begins at King's College London shortly – the paper adds ‘eventually it is hoped the drug, which activates the body's own immune system against the leukaemia, could be used to treat other types of cancers'.

Do your patients smack their children? If so, there's heartening news in the Times, which reports a study by Marjorie Gunnoe, professor of psychology at Calvin College in Michigan, USA, which found that a smacked child ‘is a successful child'.

And finally, what about that pandemic? Well, the BBC reports that France is to begin selling off millions of surplus swine flu doses to other countries, amid consensus that the spread of H1N1 appears to have peaked.

Our neighbours across the Channel bought 94 million doses of the vaccine apparently, and started vaccinating in October – but only about five million people have been vaccinated, according to reports.

Swine flu, it seems, is so 2009…

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

Daily Digest