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Private firms given AQP status, the DH’s healthier eating campaign and a ‘tomato’ pill to cure heart disease

Over at the Guardian we find news of yet another graphic campaign from the Department of Health - this time to highlight the levels of sugar and fat in every day foods.

The advert, to run during Coronation Street this evening, will show a cola bottle holding 17 cubes of sugar, and a wine glass full of fat from a large pizza.

The campaign forms part of the Change4Life scheme, which aims to help families make healthier choices. Supermarkets have agreed voluntary ‘traffic light’ labelling of foods as part of the scheme.

The Telegraph reports that private firms such as Inhealth, Virgin Care and Specsavers have been granted ‘any qualified provider’ status and will provide basic services such as physiotherapy, dermatology, MRI scanning and psychological therapy.

DH figures show 105 private firms have been approved by PCTs and CCGs - only slightly fewer than the 140 NHS organisations approved.

The Government dismissed RCGP and BMA criticisms that existing NHS services could close and the changes could affect patient care.

Earl Howe, the health minister, called the objections ‘nonsense’: ‘This is about offering patients more choice, control and driving up the quality of their care, and the idea that this will have a negative impact on health care and patients is nonsense.’

Scientists may have pinpointed why a Mediterranean diet can prevent cardiovascular disease, according to the Daily Mail, after further trials on a pill which contains the goodness of 6lb of tomatoes show it boosts blood vessel efficiency and blood flow, and could limit the damage caused by heart disease and strokes.

The supplement Ateronon contains a chemical called lycopene which makes tomatoes red and is known to break down fatty deposits in the arteries.

Cambride University scientists now hope it could also benefit patients with arthritis, diabetes and could halt the spread of cancer.

However, some are unconvinced that a pill can replace the benefits of a diet rich in fresh vegetables.

Mike Knapton, of the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘Although this showed lycopene improved blood flow in people with heart disease, that’s a long way from demonstrating that taking it could improve outcomes for people with heart disease. 

‘The best way to get the benefits of a Mediterranean diet is to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.’