State of the nation: So, Tony, on a scale of one to ten, how does your government rate? Health: 6/10

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The Independent Online

1. Reduce NHS in-patients waiting lists by 100,000 over the lifetime of the parliament.

2. Establish NHS Direct throughout England by December 2000.

3. Reduce death rate from heart disease and stroke-related illnesses among people aged under 75 by 40 per cent by 2010.

4. Get 17 new hospitals under construction.

5. Reduce the number of deaths caused by smokingand ban all tobacco advertising by 2006.


The public health White Paper launched earlier this month has targets to improve the country's health by 2010 and save 300,000 lives over the next 10 years. But health experts say more money is needed for costly drug treatments, especially to prevent suicides.

Although the Government is keen to make health services faster and easier to use, doctors say their working conditions make a mockery of its pledge to modernise the NHS. Junior doctors are close to industrial action.