BBC News

Newspaper headlines: 'Medics angry over meals' and nurses' mental toll

By BBC News

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image captionManchester City's Raheem Sterling is creating a foundation to help disadvantaged children

The Observer leads with the call by paediatricians for the government to reconsider its decision not to extend the provision of free meals to disadvantaged children in England during the school holidays.

The president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Russell Viner, tells the paper he has "rarely seen such anger among our members".

He describes it as "heartbreaking" that child hunger has become such a normal part of their jobs; and criticises ministers for talking about "levelling up the country while refusing to offer temporary relief to children and families".

Hot on the heels of the free school meals campaign - spearheaded by the footballer, Marcus Rashford - another Premier League star tells the Sunday Times of his plans to help disadvantaged children.

Rashford's England team mate, Raheem Sterling, is creating a foundation to improve social mobility by providing financial support, university scholarships and work placements.

He says he wants to give "a push" to youngsters from a similar background to his own - single-parent families "who lack the opportunity" to succeed in life.

The hotelier, Sir Rocco Forte, writing in the Mail on Sunday, calls for Boris Johnson to fire the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, for presiding over what he says is the "shambolic handling" of the pandemic.

Mr Forte complains that "little or no thought has been given to the devastation all around us: the businesses that are failing, the jobs being destroyed and the suffering this will cause".

The paper also reports that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has asked Treasury staff to find ways to illustrate the economic costs of lockdown.

The paper says the data could be released alongside the daily figures for coronavirus deaths and cases.

A source close to Mr Sunak explains that he is keen to demonstrate the "balancing act and the trade-offs that the Cabinet, the prime minister and the chancellor are having to make every day".

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With the headline "Stop Failing Our NHS Heroes", the Sunday Mirror reveals the "mental health crisis" it says is taking its toll on healthcare staff on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19.

It says 300,000 workers are "near breaking point" - and those struggling with stress and mental health concerns took a total of two million sick days during the first wave of the virus.

The Independent digital newspaper carries the same story, adding that mental health conditions are accounting for up to 20% of staff absences.

The British Medical Association says calls to its helpline have risen by 80% since September last year, and it fears an exodus of NHS doctors and nurses.

In an interview with the Observer, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, accuses the government of "structural discrimination" against mental health services, by failing to invest in facilities and ignoring the psychological impact of the pandemic.

The Department of Health and Social Care insists it is "absolutely committed to supporting everyone's mental health".

Dame Shirley Bassey, Dame Helen Mirren and Dame Vera Lynn are all due to release records in the coming fortnight.

A music insider describes it as "quite a moment for our national treasures".