Newspaper review: Papers focus on health service

Sunday newspapers

On Friday, the NHS celebrates its 65th birthday. It may be of pensionable age, notes the Observer, but it is in robust health.

The paper believes it would be a tragedy if the increasing pressure on services and an ever tighter budget were used as an excuse to open the door wide to the private sector.

The Mail on Sunday is more concerned about the impact foreign health tourists are having on the service.

It reports that data, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, shows overseas patients who have had treatment here failed to pay the NHS £24m in the past year.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt tells the Mail he is planning action to ensure that foreign nationals pay for treatment.

The Independent on Sunday says non-EU patients will be charged at GP surgeries if they cannot provide proof of residency.

The Sunday People welcomes Mr Hunt's intervention, saying the NHS must be a national service not an international one.

Irresponsible behaviour

The payday loan industry comes under more scrutiny.

The Independent on Sunday says new research, by consumer organisation Which?, suggests a million new payday loans are being taken out every month and half of all borrowers cannot meet repayments.

In an editorial, the paper calls for a cap on the rates charged by payday lenders.

However, it acknowledges that it is better to have such lending in the legal economy than drive it into the criminal underworld.

Writing in the Sun, Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson, who will hold a summit with the lenders, says irresponsible behaviour which exploits vulnerable consumers in financial strife must end.

The Observer is concerned about the escalation of violence in Egypt before the first anniversary of President Mohammed Morsi's inauguration.

It thinks the country's fate feels as uncertain as at any point since the uprising in 2011 which toppled Hosni Mubarak.

New darling

Many of the front pages feature photographs of Laura Robson celebrating the moment she became the first British woman to reach the last 16 of Wimbledon for 15 years.

For the Mail on Sunday she is the new darling of Wimbledon.

It was, concludes the Sunday Times, the day when the teenager came of age on the biggest stage of all.

The Observer feels Robson has seemingly almost overnight assumed national treasure status.

The Sunday Telegraph sees her as a Wimbledon heroine straight from central casting; polite, well-spoken but with a mischievous sense of humour lurking beneath her apparent deference.

But the Sunday Express sounds a note of caution, arguing that we should be wary of placing too much burden of expectation on her shoulders.

The Sun is cheered by her achievements and those of Andy Murray.

It is also buoyed by the appearance of The Rolling Stones at Glastonbury and Lewis Hamilton being on pole position for the British Grand Prix.

For all the recent gloom, says the Sun, weekends like this show why Britain really is great and host to some of the finest sporting and cultural institutions.

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