Newspaper headlines: A&E 'crisis', Black Friday and Formula 1 finale

The health of the NHS niggles at the papers again, with the Independent on Sunday wondering what's happened to the weekly hospital casualty data.

It says there were more emergency admissions in the second week of November than any other in NHS history but that latest figures have yet to be published despite a number of "black alerts" - meaning A&E departments are full - in recent weeks. It fears a "crisis" looms, given a "colder than average winter" is forecast. NHS England is quoted insisting the delay is not down to political interference.

Meanwhile, the Mail on Sunday says NHS bosses are investigating whether the closure of two London A&E departments caused lengthy delays at alternative hospitals nearby and led to "a spike in death rates". The paper also reports that an increasing number of those turning up on casualty wards across the country want dental treatment because they can't afford to visit their dentist.

Getting to hospital is a concern in some emergency cases, according to the Sunday Telegraph. It says the Association of Chief Police Officers is investigating concerns that bobbies are "being forced to act as ambulance drivers" when no NHS vehicles are available.

"In some cases, officers are even having to administer rudimentary first aid to patients at the scene," the paper says. It hears from the family of one stroke victim who died three days after being to rushed hospital in a police van when an ambulance failed to arrive despite officers calling six times.


Shopping days

The press looks forward to the coming week's "Black Friday", the US-inspired 24-hour sales bonanza. "Retailers have drafted in extra shopfloor and security staff to control the anticipated crowds of shoppers," says the Observer's Zoe Wood.

"People will get hurt. Zombies will stagger about the streets as a new kind of madness sweeps Britain. But on the plus side, you'll be able to get a big telly for next to nothing," writes Cole Moreton in the Independent on Sunday.

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Some shoppers might find an easier way. According to the Sunday People, gift buyers are expected to splash out £1.7bn via the internet on Friday. Credit card firm Visa forecasts £6,000 per second being racked up on its cards, it says. "There are also bargains to be had online the following Monday, known as Cyber Monday," points out the Sunday Mirror, which prints deal-hunting tips from MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis.

Indeed, the Sunday Times predicts many won't even bother to change out of their pyjamas to bag a bargain: "For many retailers this will be the first Christmas that purchases made on a mobile phone or tablet - often from the comfort of the bedroom - outnumber those made using desktop or laptop computers."

It might still not add up to a bumper Christmas for shops, given a Sun on Sunday poll finds 83% of respondents planning to spend less on presents this year than last.

One woman who's got plenty of shopping done is Liz Jones, who explores the trend for personalisation of gifts for the Mail. As well as rating cupcakes with her face on the icing, hazelnut spread with her monicker across the label and cushions bearing a photo of her dog, she passes judgement on a pair of purple knickers branded "Liz".


Second best?

Looking ahead to Formula 1's finale in Abu Dhabi, the Sunday Express says the "heat is on Hamilton" as Mercedes driver Lewis lines up second on the grid behind team-mate Nico Rosberg, the one man who can pip him to the title.

Jonathan McEvoy, in the Mail, suggests the Briton - "forlorn, curt and quiet-voiced" after qualifying - is losing the psychological battle. And Mark Hughes writes in the Sunday Times: "The whole scenario seemed to reflect the respective pressure experienced by the two men - Rosberg, with absolutely nothing to lose, free and flowing in his performance; Hamilton, with the possibility of losing the championship despite having won five more races and behind ahead in the points, showing signs of tightening up."

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Even so, as the Sun's Steven Howard notes: "[Hamilton] will still wake up this morning knowing that even if Rosberg takes the chequered flag later in the afternoon, as long as he finishes second he will be champion."

A previous British world champion, Damon Hill, gives Observer readers an insight into Hamilton's situation, having been in a similar situation with Williams teammate Jacques Villeneuve in 1996. "He's going to have to be thoroughly prepared so that he's in a good frame of mind and covered everything when he goes to the car, but still has an open mind for any eventuality." However, Hill insists: "Whatever the outcome Lewis can be called one of the greats."

The Sunday Express notes that while he's won more grands prix than any other British driver, Hamilton has not been taken to heart by the public the way Nigel Mansell was in the 1980s and 1990s. It quotes driving legend Sir Stirling Moss suggesting Hamilton's "pop idol" status - he's pictured in the Mirror with singer Pharrell Williams - is "not really the way we English go". But he adds: "He is bloody quick - we can't take that away from him."


Benefits 'ban'

While columnists continue to mull over Labour's turmoil after Emily Thornberry's resignation from the front-bench over a "disrespectful" tweet showing a house adorned with England flags, others turn their attention to David Cameron.

"The prime minister is expected to use a long-awaited speech on immigration to call for a ban on EU migrants claiming in-work benefits such as tax credits when they first move to Britain," reports the Sunday Times. The paper describes it as a "counter-attack" on UKIP, which has claimed two by-election victories with the help of Tory defectors in recent weeks.

The Sun says three-quarters of readers polled chose immigration and asylum among the most important issues facing the country, with a third saying it was the single most important thing affecting their families.

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Despite Mr Cameron's pledge to reduce immigration to tens of thousands by the end of the current parliament, it "will not stop rising", according to a report quoted in the Sunday Telegraph.

And the People urges politicians "it's time to talk about migrants", arguing: "It's not racist to question whether local services can cope with the pressure migrants put on them... to despair of a benefits system which pays our millions of pounds for East European children who do not even live here."

However, the Sunday Mirror's ampp3d pullout asks: "Where would Britain be without foreigners?" It explores the numbers involved, where migrants live, their effect on house prices, welfare, pensions and healthcare.


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