Newspaper review: 'Health tourism' data assessed


Research on the effects of so-called health tourism by overseas patients on the NHS in England is explored in Tuesday's newspapers.

The Daily Mail is adamant that "Britain can't afford to treat the world" and it applauds Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt for his efforts to claw back some of the money.

The Times is more cautious, noting that the Department of Health admits that the figures are "based on a large number of assumptions".

In its front page coverage of the story, the Daily Telegraph focuses on the reported £2bn annual cost to the NHS for treating foreign patients.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports the claims were challenged by Labour, while doctors have raised concerns that they did not have the capacity to "act as border guards".

'Unaffordable bills'

Elsewhere, the deal for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point and the political row about energy prices continues to generate coverage.

The Daily Telegraph is concerned that British taxpayers are paying over the odds in subsidies to foreign-owned energy companies for nuclear power.

But it accepts the deal with French-owned EDF to build and run the plant is a "price worth paying to keep the lights on", concluding that energy policy has been a shambles for decades.

The Guardian fears the decision to subsidise state-owned Chinese and French companies shows "a huge lack of belief in UK competence".

It also suggests that Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey had no choice but to go nuclear at any price because of the chancellor's resistance to spending more on other forms of renewable energy.

The Times saves its ire for the energy companies whose price hikes it says have pushed family bills to unaffordable levels. The paper says the government ought to have fought harder for better terms from EDF.

According to the Sun, the architects of the energy crisis are not the suppliers but "feeble and dithering politicians" .

It believes the "blame falls squarely on Labour", saying it had 13 years to solve energy problems but only vaguely put its faith in wind farms and failed to sign off any new nuclear plants.

'Hair raising'

The Daily Mirror has what it describes as a "white widow exclusive", carrying a front page picture it says is of terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite cuddling her newborn baby daughter.

It comes almost a month after Interpol issued a wanted persons notice for the Briton, whose husband was one of the four suicide bombers who attacked London on 7 July 2005.

A new study which suggests that insomnia or restless sleep could be linked to Alzheimer's in older people is quoted in the Daily Telegraph.

The Times wonders whether poor sleep could play a role in causing dementia rather than simply being a symptom, something the researchers have stopped short of demonstrating.

Finally, the Daily Express says middle aged men everywhere are facing an anxious wait for what it hopes will be "hair-raising" final results of clinical trials to find a cure for baldness.

It is among the papers to report that tests on mice suggest it is possible to grow new hair follicles from human skin cells, a major development from the current system of transplanting hair follicles.

While the Daily Mail cautions against waiting with bated breath for a treatment that is years away, the Independent says it is a cause for celebration.

The techniques used in this study give a glimpse, it believes, of the future of medicine saying "in the 21st century, it will be the turn of regenerative medicines based on cell transplants".

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