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Intractable problems need long term solutions, not quick fixes

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 20 June 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1902
  1. Sarah Stewart-Brown, Director,
  2. Sian Griffiths, Director of public health and health policy
  1. Health Services Research Unit, Department of Public Health, Institute of Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7LF
  2. Oxfordshire Health Authority, Oxford OX3 7LG

    EDITOR—Sometimes it is difficult to be pleased about progress. The new green paper Our Healthier Nation represents progress. For the first time, a government has made an unequivocal statement about the importance of socioeconomic factors for health. Previous governments have been reluctant to acknowledge that poverty kills or that poor housing makes people ill, and any problem cannot begin to be solved until it is acknowledged.

    The government clearly wants to tackle the root causes of health inequalities—such as social exclusion—but the green …

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