Newspaper headlines: NHS crisis and 'Katherine the great'

A "bed-blocking" crisis in the NHS costing £6bn and plaudits for Britain's most decorated female Olympian make the front pages.

The Times leads on figures from NHS England that show more than 6,000 elderly people a month are stuck in hospital simply because they cannot get care elsewhere.

The paper says days lost to so-called bed-blocking - caused when patients who are well have to stay in hospital because of a shortage of suitable care elsewhere - have increased by 80% in five years and costs £6bn a year.

It continues: "Pressure on frontline services typically eases during the summer but figures for June showed hospitals to be in the grip of a crisis, campaigners said, with 6,105 patients experiencing a delay in being discharged compared with 4,996 a year earlier.

"Other data released yesterday underlined the pressure on the health service. The figures for accident and emergency waiting times in June were the worst ever, with 90.5% of patients seen within four hours against a target of 95%.

"This included 84 patients who had to wait at least 12 hours on a trolley. Previously the highest figure for June had been 25."

In the Telegraph, Chris Hopson, the head of hospitals in England, says the NHS needs to take a "reality check" over what it can provide and take national decisions about which treatments and services should be rationed.

"The call came as official data showed that the health service is in the grip of the worst bed-blocking crisis on record, while waiting lists are the highest for almost a decade, with 3.7 million people awaiting treatment," says the Telegraph.


The Telegraph says a report by corruption tsar Sir Eric Pickles has found that electoral fraud has been allowed to take place in Muslim communities because of fears surrounding "political correctness".

Sir Eric warned that the authorities are in "denial" and "turning a blind eye" to a serious problem, says the Telegraph.

"The report makes a series of recommendations to Theresa May, the prime minister, including that electors be required to present identification when they are voting and that police cordons be placed around polling stations to prevent intimidation," the paper reports.

"It calls for officials at polling stations to be banned from speaking any language other than English and says that it should be made a criminal offence to attempt to influence an individual to vote for a candidate because of their religion.

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"Speculation is growing that Britain could face another general election before the year is out, increasing the need for any changes to be implemented quickly."

The Times says Sir Eric called for sweeping changes to the voting system, including tougher checks on electoral registration and new laws that would compel voters to produce a driving licence, passport or utility bill before casting their ballot.

The report warns that the UK's reputation for democracy could be undermined unless the government makes it more difficult for fraudsters, says the Guardian.


The Guardian goes with the Labour leadership contest, reporting on the latest party hustings in Gateshead.

The paper says challenger Owen Smith was jeered, as he appeared to abandon the cautious tone of the early stages of the leadership debate.

He told Mr Corbyn that it was about gaining power not wearing protest T-shirts or lapel badges, the Guardian adds.

Mr Corbyn criticised Mr Smith for stepping down as shadow work and pensions secretary.

The pair agreed on many policy issues, including the need to boost the national minimum wage, improve state-funded childcare, and fight government spending cuts but clashed over the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system.

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"The electorate for the contest has still not been finally determined, with the party awaiting an appeal court ruling, due today, in a case brought by five new party members over the six-month cut-off date to qualify for voting," says the Guardian.

"There have been a series of legal clashes over the rules, with Labour's National Executive Committee defending its decision to exclude up to 130,000 members who have joined the party since January from voting."

The Times reports that leading figures of the left including Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition chairman Dave Nellist, Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe and former Liverpool city council deputy leader Derek Hatton said they would rejoin Labour if Mr Corbyn was re-elected.


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"Katherine the great" is how rower Katherine Grainger is described after she became Great Britain's most decorated female Olympian when she won a silver medal with Victoria Thornley in the double sculls in Rio.

The Telegraph says: "Grainger, a 40-year-old university chancellor, and Thornley, a former model, were written off just months ago after initially missing out on selection for Team GB.

"But the pair revived their partnership at the 11th hour and yesterday put in the race of their lives to come astonishingly close to gold before being edged into second place by their Polish opponents.

"The silver medals are against-the-odds triumphs for both Granger, who came out of retirement two years ago, and Thornley, 28, who initially kept falling into the water after getting into a boat for the first time nine years ago."

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The Times states: "The Glasgow-born rower was paired with Thornley only last year and the pair won the medal despite a turbulent qualification period."

The Mail says their achievement is all the more remarkable given their bumpy ride to the Games.

Profiling Granger, the Guardian says: "Moments after Katherine Granger became the most decorated British female Olympian in history she announced that her epic sporting odyssey, during which she has garnered five medals in five Games over the best part of two decades, was finally over."

Granger declared she will now bring the curtain down on an Olympic career which began in Sydney 16 years ago, says the i.


The Met Office is forecasting a "blistering" heatwave this weekend and early next week, with temperatures set to be hotter than Mexico, according to the Times.

"After disappointing conditions earlier in the summer, a 'Spanish plume' will bring hot air from Morocco that will see temperatures reaching 30C," it says.

"Highs of 27C today and 25C tomorrow and Sunday are predicted, before temperatures climb to the low-30s next week."

The forecast is for "lengthy sunny spells" that will put 24C Mexico City in the shade and bookmakers have slashed the odds of temperatures rising past the UK record of 38.5C to just 4-1.

The Express says the hottest spell of August weather for 13 years is now on the cards.

"The mercury is expected to soar higher than during last month's mini heatwave which brought temperatures into the 90s in parts of the UK," the Express continues.

"Britain will warm up over the next few days with the south expected to hit 81F today and reach 86F by Monday.

"However, all eyes are on next Tuesday when a swathe of tropical air is set to engulf Britain, pushing thermometers towards 35C."