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News Daily: NHS targets and worst traffic jams

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NHS hospital performance slumps across the UK

Research by BBC News has found the NHS across the UK is missing key targets for cancer treatment, A&E and planned operations.

After analysing the data for each of the country's four nations, it can be seen that the health services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have failed to hit one of their three key targets in the past 18 months. Scotland hit its A&E target three times in the past 12 months.

Figures show patients are now twice as likely to wait longer than four hours in casualty than they were four years ago.

The proportion of people waiting more than 62 days for cancer treatment has risen by a third in the past four years. Nearly one in five patients now wait longer.

Ministers say most patients across the UK are still being seen in time, but British Medical Association chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the situation highlighted by the BBC was "unacceptable".

The analysis coincides with the launch of the BBC's online NHS Tracker, where you can find out how your local service is performing on three key waiting time targets.

MPs to debate Universal Credit expansion

After Brexit, one of this Parliament's hottest issues is the government's rollout of Universal Credit, which combines six separate benefits into one.

On Wednesday, MPs will debate the programme, amid concerns over reported delays of up to six weeks in getting payments to claimants, a situation which senior Labour backbencher Frank Field has said is causing some people to be "pushed towards destitution".

Labour wants the rollout to be paused - the government plans to bring in Universal Credit at 50 job centres each month - and will use its debate to bring pressure on ministers.

A Commons vote on Universal Credit is not binding on the government, although it has been reported that about a dozen Conservative MPs want the scheme to be put on hold.

The Department for Work and Pensions said the system was working and the majority of recipients were telling them they were comfortable about managing their finances.

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Game of Thrones star accuses Weinstein

Lena Headey, who plays Cersei Lannister in the hit TV drama Game of Thrones, is the latest actress to accuse Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.

Headey posted on Twitter to say that Weinstein had invited her to his room to show her a script.

She wrote how she told him in a lift that she was "not interested in anything other than work, please don't think I got in here with you for any other reason, nothing is going to happen.'"

Headey claimed Weinstein was "furious" and walked her back to the lift.

Weinstein has been accused by other actresses of rape, sexual assault and harassment, but has "unequivocally denied" any allegations of non-consensual relationships.

UK's worst traffic jams revealed

Regular users of the M5 in Somerset may not be unduly surprised to learn that the motorway experienced the UK's worst traffic jam in the last 12 months.

According to traffic analysts Inrix, drivers faced disruption for up to 15 hours last August following an oil spill, which also caused problems up to 36 miles away.

Experts say such incidents cost millions of pounds in wasted fuel and time.

The dubious honour of Britain's worst motorway for jams goes to the M6, which had three of the top five tailbacks. Highways England says it clears 85% of incidents within an hour.

'Go to the dentist and get fined £100'

By Sean Coughlan, education and family correspondent

Going to the dentist is something that many would want to avoid - but how about if you also faced a penalty fine?

More than 40,000 people a year in England are getting fines of £100 - from an automated system that dentists say is hitting the most vulnerable.

They warn that people such as dementia sufferers are unfairly getting caught up in a system meant to stop fraudsters from getting free treatment.

The fines, about £4m per year, are being applied by a random screening process that checks on whether people going to the dentist are really eligible for free treatment.

The NHS accepts there is a problem with errors and is promising changes.

Read Sean's full story here

What the papers say

Several papers lead on warnings by the head of MI5, Andrew Parker, about the level of terrorist threat faced by the UK, and the role of technology giants in preventing the spread of information used by extremists. According to the i paper, Mr Parker said in a speech that he had never seen such a "high tempo" of bombings, shootings and stabbings in his 34-year service. The Daily Mail adds that the spy chief said while technological advances were "brilliant", an "unintended side-effect is that these advances also aid the terrorists". Elsewhere, the Daily Mirror reports on a pensions "timebomb", with figures suggesting as many as 15 million people are not saving for their retirement. Many will have to keep working until their 80s, the paper adds.

Read our full review of Wednesday's papers here

Daily digest

China Communist Party congress begins in Beijing

HIV Pre-sex drug 'no-brainer' for NHS

VAT Amazon and eBay warned over fraudsters

Novel George Saunders wins Man Booker prize

If you watch one thing today

Army: Behind the New Frontlines

If you listen to one thing today

Bruce Springsteen: Long Walk Home

If you read one thing today

Check cancer, A&E and operations targets in your area

Today's lookahead

09:30 Office for National Statistics releases unemployment figures for the period covering June-August 2017.

10:00 Financial Conduct Authority publishes its first Financial Lives survey, which draws on responses from just under 13,000 UK consumers.

12:00 Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.

On this day

2000: Actress Liz Hurley is greeted by protesters at the Los Angeles premiere of her new film Bedazzled.

1989: The Communist leader of East Germany, Erich Honecker, is forced to step down.

1963: Lord Home wins one of the most bitterly-fought leadership contests in the history of the Conservative Party to become UK prime minister.

From elsewhere

'Political murder': Panama Papers reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia killed by car bomb in Malta (Press Gazette)

Warren Gatland brings British and Irish Lions career to abrupt end: 'I'm done - I hated the New Zealand tour' (Daily Mirror)

Taste tests reveal the festive food you can get this Christmas without paying a fortune (Daily Mail)

Home goes up in flames after resident 'tries to kill spiders with blowtorch' (7 News)

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