Newspaper review: Negative headlines continue for watchdog

Sunday newspapers

Just days after accusations of a cover-up at the Care Quality Commission, there are more negative headlines about the health watchdog in England.

The Sunday Times alleges that former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley threatened to sack a whistleblower who in 2011 disclosed that the CQC was in disarray and public safety was at risk.

It says Mr Lansley wrote to Kay Sheldon last year warning that he was considering her dismissal from the CQC board.

But the Department of Health tells the paper that removing Ms Sheldon from the board was suggested by the previous chairwoman of the CQC, Dame Jo Williams, an idea Mr Lansley rejected.

Ms Sheldon tells the Mail on Sunday that the past two years have been the most stressful of her life.

She says: "I've felt bullied, isolated and victimised, just because I was trying to do my job of holding the commission to account."

The Sunday Telegraph says another whistleblower, Roger Davidson, was forced out of a senior post at the CQC just before the general election in 2010 for disclosing that a quarter of NHS trusts had failed to meet basic hygiene standards.

Cash bond

The Sunday Express says increasing numbers of NHS patients are being treated in hospital corridors and store rooms because emergency wards are overflowing.

On one occasion, it says a patient died after being left in a hallway for two hours without appropriate treatment after having a heart attack.

The Telegraph believes it is time for politicians to stop trying to protect the image of the NHS, regardless of its faults.

It says a steady flow of scandals - including those at Morecambe Bay and Mid Staffordshire - has exposed the health service's sometimes fatal flaws and the willingness of some staff and regulators to cover them up. The NHS's halo, it says, has slipped.

The Sunday Times reports that visitors from India, Pakistan, Nigeria and what it describes as "other high-risk countries" in Asia and Africa will be forced to pay a cash bond of £3,000 before they can enter Britain.

It says a pilot scheme, based on similar arrangements in Australia, will begin in November. Visitors would forfeit the money if they fail to leave by the time their visa has expired.

History in reverse

The number of new mothers attempting to breastfeed has fallen in England for the first time in almost a decade, according to the Observer.

It says there were almost 6,000 fewer woman breastfeeding over the past year.

The Royal College of Midwives says it is concerned about cuts to NHS information campaigns, the scrapping of infant feeding co-ordinators and a shortage of 5,000 midwives.

The papers look back on the British and Irish Lions' thrilling, if perhaps fortunate, victory over Australia in the rugby first Test in Brisbane.

The Sunday Times says Lions followers were reflecting on history in reverse - they lost the crucial second Test in South Africa in 2009 on the last kick of the game, this time Australian kicker Kurtley Beale missed in the last minute.

The Sunday Telegraph calls it the "great escape". "Beale blunder hands tourists dramatic victory," it continues.

The Observer calls them the lucky Lions - a performance that was a mixture of inspiration, aggression, determination, carelessness and stupidity.

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