Headlines: October 8th, 1998

Local health services and local councils have been told to ‘come together’ for a joint assault on Britain’s key health problems.Two Government departments have issued guidance on Health Improvement Programmes (HImPs), which are due to start in April next year.

Led by the health authority, the HImPs will include contributions from hospital doctors, Primary Care Groups, voluntary and patient organisations, and local authorities.

The new guidance says that each HImP should implement the priorities set out in last week’s joint guidance on priorities issues last week, such as the modernisation of services such as heartcare, cancer, and mental health (featured in Publicnet Briefing on October 2).Alan Milburn, Minister for Health, said: “We expect all parts of the local NHS to come together with local authorities and local communities to improve health and modernise services.

Paul Boateng, Minister for Social Care, said: “Individuals and communities do not observe bureaucratic boundaries between organisations and nor should we. Health Action Zones are already beginning to show what can be done. Now is the opportunity for all to join in.”

The new guidance has been sent to all health authorities, local authorities and social services departments of local authorities.