Health impact assessment

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7051.183 (Published 27 July 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:183
  1. Alex Scott-Samuel
  1. Director EQUAL (Equity in Health Research and Development Unit), Department of Public Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX

    An idea whose time has come

    The Health of the Nation, England's strategy for a healthy population, acknowledges explicitly that many government policies have an impact on health and that their consequences for health need to be assessed and, when appropriate, taken into account.1 England is not alone: the idea of health impact assessment is almost universally popular, though its implementation is patchy. In the developing world, where the importance of healthy public policy is well understood, the prospective assessment of the health impact of resource allocation policies or of development projects is nothing new.2 3 In the developed world, however, acknowledgement of the need for health impact assessment is still in its early stages, and its meaning, methods, and application remain to be established. Only now is the scientific community coming to realise the …

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