Health Secretary Frank Dobson has launched a white paper which sets out targets to save 300,000 lives over the next ten years. This will be done by cutting deaths from heart disease, cancer, accidents and suicide by one fifth by 2010. The target for cutting heart disease for people under 75 is two fifths. The proposals also seek to reduce the health inequalities between rich and poor.
A range of measures are proposed to achieve the targets. Cancer screening is to be beefed up and equipment modernised. There will be action to cut smoking and to improve people’s diet. A health skills programme will teach first aid and skills and health information to young people. An expert patient scheme will enable people with chronic conditions such as asthma to manage their own conditions better.
Structural changes include extending the role of health visitors, community and school nurses and midwives. The Health Education Authority is to be replaced by a more powerful Health Development Agency.