Editorials

Health action zones

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7126.164 (Published 17 January 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:164

Offer the possibility of radical ideas which need rigorous evaluation

  1. Bobbie Jacobson, Director of public healtha (bobbie@elcha.co.uk),
  2. Laurann Yen, Fellow in organisational developmentb (office@opm.co.uk)
  1. aEast London and the City Health Authority, London E3 2AN
  2. bOffice of Public Management, London WC1X 8JT

    Reducing inequalities in health and moving away from the competitive market in health care are both important elements of government policy. Health action zones, mentioned in last month's white paper1 but announced beforehand, are one means of implementing these objectives.2 Is the health action zone initiative likely to succeed in its challenging aims of creating and sustaining partnerships to reduce inequalities and improve the clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of services?

    Health action zones are intended to “bring together all those contributing to the health of the local population to develop and implement a locally agreed strategy for improving the health of local people.” Health authorities and others are expected to bid jointly to run zones; no more than 10 bids will succeed, the schemes starting from April and planned to run for five to seven years. The guidance mentions resources only obliquely, though it does offer other possibilities for support.2 These include changing the rules for joint use of resources-for example, pooling resources across health and …

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