Baftas, NHS fears and Scotland's future in the papers

Future proposals for the NHS emerge as a topic of concern in several of Monday's newspapers.

The Daily Telegraph says it has seen risk analysis by the NHS warning that patient confidentiality could be undermined by its new medical records database in England.

The records could be vulnerable to hackers or used to identify patients "maliciously", a document states.

According to the newspaper, patients could be "re-identified" if database data is combined with other information and the scheme could damage public confidence in the NHS.

The Daily Mail highlights a survey suggesting that about 80% of GPs do not fully understand how the database will work.

In a leader, the Mail says it would be catastrophic if information were to be lost or mishandled.

"The public has not been properly consulted and the danger of privacy breaches is all too real," it says. "Isn't the case for switching to an opt-in system now irresistible?"

Meanwhile, the Times reports that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is opposed to Department of Health proposals to take "wider societal benefit" into account when considering whether the NHS should pay for a drug.

NICE head Sir Andrew Dillon tells the paper he is concerned the elderly would be denied new treatments under the "hard-nosed" plans which prioritise patients judged to contribute the most to the economy, such as high-earning men of middle age.

An editorial in the Daily Mirror focuses on the refusal by NHS bosses in Nottingham to fund surgery to help children with cerebral palsy walk for the first time.

"Hard-pressed hospitals in other parts of the country are likely to be refusing medical treatment as they struggle to balance the books," it says.

"The uncomfortable truth is that the NHS is going into reverse, spending failing to keep pace with advances in drugs and science... at some point we need to accept extra tax must be spent on health."

A dangerous leap?

Comments by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that it would be "difficult, if not impossible" for an independent Scotland to join the EU are seized on by several papers.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Alex Salmond's plans for an independent Scotland come under the spotlight

The Times says it is among the "risks" that campaigners in favour of a yes vote have failed to mention.

In an editorial, the paper says: "It is possible for a successful and prosperous nation-state to stand outside supranational organisations. Yet the advocates of Scottish independence have made much of the idea that secession from the UK could be accomplished smoothly and with only benefits."

Mr Barroso's comments - described by the SNP as "preposterous" - come ahead of a speech in which Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond will mount a defence of his plans for independence.

But the Daily Mirror suggests Mr Barroso cannot be dismissed lightly.

"Every day the idea of breaking up Britain looks a more dangerous leap into the dark for Scotland," it adds in an editorial.

The Sun too welcomes the "words of wisdom".

"If the Commission president's brutally honest appraisal persuades wavering Scots to stick with the union he has done the entire UK a very large favour," it says.

In the Daily Express, columnist Leo McKinstry suggests the nationalists' campaign "relies on sentimentality rather than hard thinking".

A report in the Financial Times highlights "overwhelmingly hostile views" about independence by Britain's largest retailers.

It says a survey by headhunter Korn Ferry and the British Retail Consortium saw concerns voiced about a rise in supply-chain costs and new employment and pension laws.

Welfare of hedgehogs

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Image caption Has the stormy weather inspired dreams of sunnier climes?

The impact of the flooding that has affected southern Britain continues to attract comment.

The Guardian's lead story says flood-stricken communities, including in Devon, the Somerset Levels and Kent, have been left without planned defences following government funding cuts.

The Guardian says it compared the flood defence spending plans for 2010-11, the final year of the last government's budget, with the plans for subsequent years under the coalition.

Conservationists quoted in the Independent warn that the floods could be "absolutely devastating" for wildlife and the ecosystem.

A study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment that says noxious hydrogen sulphide fumes and lead poisoning are among the threats from contamination is highlighted.

"It may seem flippant, even tasteless, to raise the welfare of hedgehogs, voles and bumblebees when so many people face such a threat to property, livelihoods and life itself, but it is not meant to be. A vital ecosystem is essential to the health of the lands so many depend on," the Independent says in an editorial.

In another development, the Times reports that the stormy weather has helped inspire an increase in overseas holiday bookings.

"The weather is having an impact," the Association of British Travel Agents tells the paper. "Last year it was cold and dry and now it's the wind and the rain."

'Obsession with rights'

Political correctness was behind an "astonishing" farce that saw 201 pregnant servicewoman sent home from warzones in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2009, the Daily Mail says.

The paper contends that a failure to ask female troops to take a pregnancy test before their deployments was an example of Whitehall's "obsession with rights".

"It's letting their comrades down - and potentially putting their comrades in danger if they have to be returned home mid-mission," the Mail adds in an editorial.

The Daily Express carries news of a poll conducted by Channel 5 suggesting that 70% of Britons want immigration to be reduced or stopped. It says the survey of 1,899 adults reveals the fears of ordinary people.

The Financial Times reports that the rewards from a boom in UK car production are not filtering through to all workers on the production line, with the lowest-paid seeing their earnings eroded.

It says a trend of using agency staff and temporary contracts means the average wage for almost a third of the industry's workforce has fallen in real terms over the past four years.

The Sun, Daily Mirror and Daily Star all carry the same black and white picture of Simon Cowell and his son Eric - one of three tweeted by the pop mogul on Sunday - on their front pages.

Bafta fashion

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Lupita Nyong'o win praise for their Bafta red carpet appearances

Photographs from the Baftas are splashed across the front pages.

The Daily Mail was closely watching Bafta president the Duke of Cambridge at the ceremony at London's Royal Opera House on Sunday night.

He "could have been mistaken for a Hollywood star last night as he signed autographs, posed for 'selfies' with his admiring fans - and even high-fived rapper Tinie Tempah," it reports.

Elsewhere, the winners in the Bafta fashion stakes appear to have attracted almost as much attention as the big award successes, Gravity and 12 Years a Slave.

Both the Sun and the Daily Mirror feature two-page spreads on the red carpet "hits and misses".

Carolyn Asome in the Times suggests the bold colours chosen by several actresses echoes the catwalk trend seen at London Fashion Week.

The Guardian's fashion editor Jess Cartner-Morley says the "fashion moments of the night" belonged to 12 Years actress Lupita Nyong'o in a Christian Dior jade green gown and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, in his-and-hers tuxedos.

The Daily Telegraph agrees, calling Nyong'o the "standout star".

Making people click

The Guardian: Homeless Hungarian man hits lottery jackpot with his last few coins

Daily Mail: Detectives reveal final desperate hours of Michael Hutchence

The Independent: Horse moves into house to shelter from storms, refuses to leave

Financial Times: America risks becoming a Downton Abbey economy

Daily Mirror: Fifth Neknominate death after man downed two pints of gin