An “unprecedented” mass-cancellation of operations across the NHS as it deals with the winter flu outbreak and the outcry over rail fare rises lead most of Wednesday’s papers.
“Winter crisis cripples the NHS” says the Daily Mail’s front page, along with a report that says up to 55,000 non-urgent operations have been cancelled as part of emergency measures.
The Guardian says the health service is on “black alert” as a result of the escalating crisis, with doctors and health leaders describing it as the worst to hit in decades.
The sick are being treated in corridors amid reports of “third world” conditions in some hospitals and trusts have been told they can abandon efforts to keep male and female patients separate, the Daily Telegraph reports.
In other health news, some children in Britain are being treated by dentists from a charity that works with developing countries as a result of a “funding crisis”, the Daily Mirror reports.
And the cost of pregnant women coming to Britain as “health tourists” to give birth on the NHS despite being ineligible for the service could cost up to £16 million a year, the Daily Express reports.
The Times reports on Mr Grayling being accused of “running scared” after he flew to Qatar as anger grew over the biggest fare rise to hit rail passengers in five years, however he said he is in the Gulf state to negotiate two big contracts for British companies.
The i also reports on Mr Grayling’s “escape to the sun”.
Britain is laying the groundwork for a post-Brexit deal with the Trans-Pacific Partnership trading bloc, in a world-first for a country that does not border the ocean or the South China Sea, the Financial Times reports.
The case of a man who killed three partners is on the front page of the Metro.
Police have warned that slaves are being “hidden in plain sight” after a Vietnamese gang was jailed for subjugating young women and girls in nail bars, The Independent reports.
The Sun reports on the BBC’s decision that it will no longer use football pundit Trevor Sinclair after he was sentenced for a drink-driving incident when he urinated in a police car and racially abused an officer.