From health care to healthBMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7127.300 (Published 24 January 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:300
- Siân Griffiths, director of public healtha
- a Oxfordshire Health Authority, Oxford OX3 7LG
Health is not merely the absence of disease; nor is the role of the NHS only within health care. This message is made very clearly on the first page of the white paper, with the vision of “an NHS that does not just treat people when they are ill but works with others to improve health and reduce health inequalities.” To achieve this vision, we are told, means changing our approach to tackling disease and inequality—with the government ensuring that locally the NHS works with those who provide social care, housing, education, and employment.
The emphasis on the wider health agenda places the white paper among other recent government initiatives—for example, Welfare to Work for young people, the Crime and Disorder Bill, the national child care strategy, and the education white papers—which all highlight the impact of social inequalities and the need to address the problems of the socially excluded. The lead for …