The BMJ's Question Time

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 26 April 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1217

The BMJ put a series of questions to the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat health spokesmen in an attempt to elicit more details about how they would tackle some of the pressing health issues. In the run up to the general election on 1 May we publish the questions and replies from the Conservatives' Stephen Dorrell, Labour's Chris Smith, and the Liberal Democrats' Simon Hughes.

How will you seek to influence the real determinants of the health of the populace: poverty, transport, housing, agriculture, and food?

Conservative: The Health of the Nation white paper, which was published in 1992, was the first ever clear and comprehensive strategy for public health. It has set demanding targets in five key areas for the year 2000 and beyond. Already, significant progress has been made on most of the targets. Following recent advances in our knowledge of environmental matters, particularly air quality, we have recently been able to add a new environment key area to the Health of the Nation strategy.

Labour: Labour recognises the broader influences on health and lifestyle, such as education, employment, housing, and the environment. By appointing a minister for public health we will give public health the emphasis it needs right across government; by banning tobacco advertising we will put the health of children first; by setting high standards for air quality we will reduce atmospheric pollution; by helping young people off benefits and into work through our welfare to work programme and the introduction of a minimum wage we will reduce poverty and income inequalities; and by the phased release of capital receipts we will start to target poor housing. By these and a host of other measures we will show our commitment to creating healthy communities that nurture healthy people.

Liberal Democrats: Travel delays …

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