two meals on table, one fresh one frozen

Fresh vs Frozen Food

The Tonight programme investigates the fresh and frozen food supply chains to find out if quality really is being maintained.

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Three quarters 'suffer sleep problems due to stress'

Some 72% of Britain's adults have their sleep damaged by everyday stress, a study has revealed.

Insomnia
September can be one of the most stressful months, health professionals have warned. Credit: PA

Read: Britons 'spend more time using technology than sleeping'

Data from the Sleep Council shed light on how difficult it was for some people to get a full nights sleep.

Some 48% suffer from insomnia and 26% told the Sleep Council a good nights rest helped them to relieve stress.

Only 27% of 2,035 people quizzed by Opinion Matters said they were able to regularly get enough rest.

Read: Astronauts 'dangerously sleep deprived'

Hospital food rankings 'make NHS more transparent'

Rankings of hospital care according to the quality of the food they serve will help improve the transparency of the NHS, the Health Secretary has said.

Speaking as the Department of Health launched a crackdown on hospital food, Jeremy Hunt said:

We are making the NHS more transparent, giving patients the power to compare food on wards and incentivising hospitals to raise their game.

Many hospitals are already offering excellent food to their patients and staff. But we want to know that all patients have nourishing and appetising food to help them get well faster and stay healthy, which is why we're introducing tough new mandatory standards for the first time ever.

– Jeremy Hunt

Read: Hospital rates food as '5 star'

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New rules crack down on 'unacceptable' hospital food

New NHS rules will banish unacceptable food in hospitals - meaning sloppy mashed potato and soggy vegetables may become a thing of the past.

The Department of Health is aiming to improve the quality and nutritional value of hospital food.
The Department of Health is aiming to improve the quality and nutritional value of hospital food. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

For the first time hospitals will have to meet mandatory food standards as part of a long-mooted drive to raise its standards of food across the country, the Department of Health (DoH) said.

They will also be ranked according to the quality of their food and will be required to meet legally-binding standards.

Patients will be screened for malnutrition and given personal food plans, while hospital staff will have to ensure patients get the help they need so that they can physically eat and drink.

Healthy diets will be promoted to staff and visitors in hospital canteens, and what they serve will have to meet Government recommendations on salt, sugar and saturated fats.

WHO unveils £300m plan to contain Ebola epidemic

Almost £300 million ($490m) will be ploughed into trying to contain the Ebola epidemic, the World Health Organisation has announced.

Some £296m will go towards trying to stop the spread of the virus over the next nine months, after projections suggested it could infect people in another 10 countries beyond the four currently affected - Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.

World Health Organization assistant director General Bruce Aylward outlines their plan for tackling the epidemic
World Health Organization assistant director General Bruce Aylward outlines their plan for tackling the epidemic Credit: Reuters

It comes after the UN health agency warned the disease could affect more than 20,000 people, with the estimated number of cases already thought to be up to three times higher than the known 3,069.

The current outbreak has killed more than 1,500 people in the West African countries.

Hopes of Ebola cure dampened as virus 'is mutating'

The deadly Ebola virus which has killed hundreds of people in West Africa is mutating at a rate which could hamper efforts to find a cure, researchers have warned.

Genetic studies of some of the earliest Ebola cases in Sierra Leone have found more than 300 changes in the virus as it moved from person to person.

The findings, published in Science, suggest current diagnostics and potential treatments and vaccines may struggle to keep up.

The study examined samples from 78 people in Sierra Leone, where the infections could all be traced to one faith healer who claimed to have found a cure, attracting affected patients from Guinea.

Britons warned against travelling to Ebola-hit countries

British people have been warned against travelling to countries affected by the outbreak of Ebola unless absolutely necessary.

As air companies including British Airways suspend flights to parts of West Africa, the Foreign Office said people should avoid going to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia unless they are involved in the response to the epidemic.

Officials warned increasing restrictions on travel may mean people who do visit the countries could find it difficult to leave.

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Human trials of Ebola vaccine to take place in Oxford

The first human trials of a potential Ebola vaccine could begin in the Oxford as early as mid-September.

The candidate vaccine has been being developed by the US National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. Funding from a consortium of British bodies has allowed the UK trials to be fast-tracked.

Medicins Sans Frontieres health workers at an Ebola treatment camp in Monrovia, Liberia
Medicins Sans Frontieres health workers at an Ebola treatment camp in Monrovia, Liberia Credit: REUTERS/2Tango

Professor Adrian Hill, who will be running the trials at Oxford University, said he was looking for 60 healthy individuals aged 18 to 50 to take part in the study. Volunteers will have to make nine visits over six months and will receive modest compensation for their time.

Unlike with vaccines for some other illnesses, it does not contain any infectious virus material, so it "cannot cause a person who is vaccinated to become infected with Ebola," GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement.

Manufacturers are planning to produce around 10,000 doses of the potential vaccine that will be distributed to "high-risk communities" if the trials prove successful. Other trials are being planned in the US, Gambia and Mali.

IMF: Ebola having 'acute' financial impact on West Africa

The Ebola outbreak is likely to lead to "sharply" lower growth in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and all three of the poor West African countries may need support in future, a spokesman for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said today.

Relatives stand in line at a checkpoint outside the Ebola quarantine area of West Point in Monrovia, Liberia
Relatives stand in line at a checkpoint outside the Ebola quarantine area of West Point in Monrovia, Liberia Credit: REUTERS/2Tango

The Ebola outbreak is having an acute macroeconomic and social impact on three already fragile countries in West Africa. We are actively working with all three countries to prepare a preliminary economic assessment of the impact of the Ebola crisis, and additional financing support that may be required.

– Gerry Rice, spokesman, IMF

Up to 10,000 Ebola vaccines to be made during trials

Up to 10,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine will be produced at the same time that clinical trials of the drug are taking place so they can be ready for emergency deployment if it proves effective.

GlaxoSmithKline said Phase I trials would start on the vaccine they are co-developing with the US National Institutes of Health, as soon as they received ethical and regulatory approvals.

It is expected to be given to healthy volunteers in Britain and the United States to determine whether the vaccine is safe and if it provokes a protective immune response, from about mid-September.

The tests, which they aim to complete by the end of 2014, will then be extended to Gambia and Mali, after which vaccines could be deployed on an emergency basis.

GSK also plans to begin making up to about 10,000 additional doses of its vaccine at the same time as the initial clinical trials, so if they are successful vaccine could be made available immediately for an emergency immunization program.

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