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NHS agrees largest ever privatisation deal, cigarettes to be sold in plain packaging and sugar tax could save millions

The NHS has entered into the largest privatisation deal in its history in a bid to cut the waiting list for diagnostics and surgery, the Guardian reports.

The NHS Supply Chain body has agreed to pay a total of £780 million to 11 private organisations to conduct NHS joint, heart and other operations and perform diagnostics – many of which will be delivered from mobile centres rather than hospitals.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: ‘It is outrageous that large chunks of the NHS are being parcelled up and sold off without the permission of a single person in this country.’

Cigarettes in the UK are to be sold in plain packaging from May 2016 after a vote passed in the House of Commons on Wednesday, the Telegraph reports.

Despite the plain packaging bill being championed by David Cameron, more than 100 Conservative MPs voted to block the bill becoming including Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, three Labour MPS, two Lib Dems and both UKIP MPs also voted against the move which will now proceed to debate by the Lords on Monday.

One of the rebels, Conservative MP Christopher Chope, told the Telegraph: ‘We should have waited for more clarity about the evidence from Australia and for the legal position in Europe to be clarified. There was no need to rush into it.’

And finally, the Independent reports that a tax on sugar could save the NHS millions in reducing the incidence of diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer, as well as raising revenue for the treasury.

Research by the Children’s Food Campaign said that a tax of 20p on every litre of sugary drink sold in England could save £15m a year for the NHS, and in 20 years they it could prevent 50,000 cases of diabetes.

Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drink Association said the CFC’s estimates were ‘flawed’ and added: ‘A tax on soft drinks would adversely impact the poorest in society while doing nothing to curb obesity,’


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