Editorials

Health and economic policy

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.6996.1 (Published 01 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1
  1. Peter Draper,
  2. Hugo Crombie
  1. Chair, Steering committee Researcher Project on Sustainable Development and Health, Public Health Trust, Birmingham, Birmingham B5 6DR

    The health sector should be contributing to the development of economic policy

    The idea that the health sector should collaborate in the development of policies in other sectors, such as transport, housing, or energy, is nowadays widely accepted in principle, if insufficiently in practice. “Intersectoral policy” is firmly in the books and worthy declarations not just of the World Health Organisation but of many countries.1 In Britain, Glasgow, Belfast, Camden, and Liverpool have developed and implemented intersectoral policies through WHO's healthy cities project, and many other communities are participating in similar activities through the UK Health for All Network.

    Intersectoral policy is not a bid for health to dictate policy in other sectors; it is an attempt to influence decisions so that avoidable casualties are prevented. For example, treatment services clearly have a role in dealing with the respiratory or other casualties of road traffic, but it is little consolation for the accident surgeon (and even less for the patient) to know that the best has been done after a road accident when a more sensible transport policy should have prevented the accident.2

    But what about macroeconomic policy, which largely determines widening differences in …

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