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Labour to ‘undo’ health reforms, ‘hidden’ waiting lists and ‘posh’ salt

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Thursday 17 November.

Labour will undo the NHS reforms if they are re-elected, says the Guardian. Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham committed the party to repealing all parts of the current health bill that turn the NHS into a market-based system in a speech on Wednesday.

‘We will return the NHS to a national system based on the principle of collaboration on which it was founded in 1948,’ he says. Although he does not go as far as his predecessor in his interview with Pulse earlier this year, where he said he would strip financial responsibility from GPs.

Still on politics, the Guardian is also among the papers reporting the Government´s crackdown on ‘hidden’ waiting lists. The health secretary, Andrew Lansley, has pledged that hospitals could face significant fines if they do not help those waiting beyond 18 weeks for treatment. Latest figures reveal that nearly 250,000 people were waiting at least 18 weeks from GP referral to treatment – around 10% of the total waiting for treatment.

Most of the papers carry the story that ‘posh’ salt is no better for you than table salt. The Daily Mail says it can also be 19 times more expensive. A study by the Consensus Action on Salt and Health analysed seven salt products available from supermarkets and online, a selection of rock and sea salts and one table salt. But ‘posh’ salts – contained almost as much sodium chloride and were therefore just as potentially damaging to health as  table salt despite claims that they are better for you as they contain minerals and are ‘natural’, the paper says.

The other health story in most of todays papers is that one in 12 adolescents self harm. According to the Daily Telegraph, nine out of ten self-harmers grow out of the problem by the time they are 20. British and Australian researchers questioned 1,800 Australian 14-year-olds about self-harming at nine stages, ending in their late twenties. They found that most teenage self-harmers began cutting, burning or otherwise causing themselves serious hurt at the age of 14 or 15, and that by their 20s nine out of ten ten had stopped doing so.