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The great NHS ‘bargain hunt’, antioxidants a flop for fertility and the potential cure for one in 10 with hypertension

The big news this morning is that the NHS is to get a price-comparison website showing how much different trusts are paying for products and services.

Health ministers hope it will mean NHS managers will save millions on everything from rubber gloves and stitches to building work, and according to the Daily Mail call for hospitals to be run more like the TV show ‘Bargain Hunt’. It comes after the National Audit Office found the price paid by the NHS for some items varied by more than 50%.

Conservative health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: ‘I’m not expecting a David Dickinson at every hospital, but if we want to cut waste in our NHS and divert more money into front line patient care, the health service needs to know a good bargain when it sees one.’

Elsewhere the Independent reports on disappointing news for potential mothers-to-be who have been stocking up on antioxidants in the hope it will help them conceive, as research suggests it will make no difference to their fertility levels.

According to the paper, many women undergoing IVF treatment take the supplements to boost their fertility, but now a Cochrane review of 3,548 women attending fertility clinics found no evidence that supplements can increase conception or birth rates. On the plus side, there was no evidence that taking the supplements caused any harm.

Lead researcher Dr Marian Showell, from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, said: ‘There is no evidence in this review that suggests taking an antioxidant is beneficial for women who are trying to conceive.’

Finally the Daily Mail also reports on a potential ‘cheap cure’ for thousands with hypertension, after research showed up to one in 10 people may have the condition because of benign tumours on the adrenal gland – many more than previously thought. If caught early enough the tumours can be removed by keyhole surgery, restoring normal blood pressure regulation. Currently done in around 300 people a year, researchers hope around 30 times more people could benefit from the operation.

Investigator Professor Morris Brown said: ‘We think these could be present in up to 10% of all people with high blood pressure.

‘These have to be diagnosed in young people if removing them is going to completely remove the high blood pressure and save them from a lifetime of drugs.’


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