Health Secretary calls for equal billing for prevention

Alan Milburn has set out the next five steps health professionals need to
take to modernise the NHS

Health prevention must no longer play second fiddle to health treatment
within the NHS, Health Secretary Alan Milburn has said.

In a major speech on health inequalities and health promotion, Milburn set
out the next five steps health professionals must take to shift the emphasis of
healthcare towards prevention as well as a cure.

Following the publication of a review on health inequalities, Milburn
described them as a "scar" on the nation.

"Too many people are denied the basic chances in life," he said.

"Poorer people get sick more often and die earlier. It is simply
unacceptable that the opportunity for a long and healthy life is still linked
to social circumstances, childhood poverty, where you live, how much your
parents earn, how much you earn, and your race and gender."

A new approach was needed that offered people the opportunity of better
health, he said.

"One that recognises that diets are often less healthy and smoking
rates are higher in poorer communities, [an approach] that acknowledges people
have the right to make a choice about what they eat or whether they smoke, but
people should have the opportunity to have a healthier diet or to give up
smoking if they so choose."

The five steps he outlined were: tackling inequalities in health services,
focusing on cancer and coronary heart disease, ensuring a better balance
between prevention and treatment, tackling smoking, and putting public health
at the heart of the NHS.

Tobacco ads stubbed out

– Tobacco advertising on billboards and in newspapers and magazines will be
banned from 14 February 2003

– The timetable emerged after the Government’s Tobacco Advertising and Promotion
Bill received Royal Assent in November, the final stage of the legislative

– By 14 May, in-pack promotion schemes and direct marketing contracts will
also cease

"We are considering responses to our public consultation on regulations
governing point-of-sale advertising, brand sharing and sponsorship. We will set
specific dates for these in due course," said Minister for Public Health
Hazel Blears.

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