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Nicholson’s ‘scathing attack’ on the Coalition, why half of us will get cancer and why Bugs Bunny was wrong

Outgoing NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson’s speech to the NHS Confederation conference receives some media attention this morning, with most newspapers focusing on the criticism he served up to the coalition Government.

The Guardian says Sir David ‘launched a scathing attack’ on the Government for wasting years pursuing its pro-market reforms of the health service instead of making important necessary changes.

In his speech, he said the Coalition wasted its first two years in power not pushing through the NHS reforms that are needed to keep the service sustainable for the future.

He said: ‘We cannot let the tyranny of the electoral cycle stop us from making the real and fundamental changes that we need to make to the NHS.’

But the top health story on The Guardian and elsewhere is not about Sir David but about cancer.

Half of Britons will get cancer during their life by 2020, placing an unsustainable pressure on the NHS, McMillan Cancer Support has warned.

Because we live longer we are more likely to get cancer but medical advances mean a smaller proportion of cases are deadly, writes The Telegraph.

The number of Brits who develop cancer in their lifetime has risen by more than a third in the past 20 years and the number who get cancer but end up dying of another cause has doubled in the same period.

In 1992, 32% of people who died had been diagnosed with cancer at some point, rising to 44% by 2010.

Estimates from the British Journal of Cancer suggested that by 2020 that could be as high as 47%.

Cancer charity McMillan now says this poses a ‘Herculean challenge’ for the NHS and society.

Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan, said: “This poses a Herculean challenge for the NHS and for society.

“The NHS will not be able to cope with the huge increase in demand for cancer services without a fundamental shift towards proper aftercare, without more care delivered in the community, and without engaging cancer patients in their own health.”

However today’s most viewed ‘health’ story on The Telegraph’s website is about a different sort of patient altogether, as the RCPCA warns that - shock horror! - carrots are bad for rabbits.

It said owners were mistakenly using carrots and salad for rabbits’ staple meals leading to 11% of rabbits suffering tooth decay and another 11% having digestive problems.

RSPCA animal scientist Rachel Roxburgh simply said: ‘Bugs Bunny was wrong.’


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