Traces of old ideology in Labour's policy on NHS reform

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The Independent Online
From Mr Donald Reid

Sir: The Labour Party's proposal (report, 30 June) to appoint a Minister for Public Health to "co-ordinate inter-departmental action to tackle health inequalities and to promote good health" is welcome. However, the minister's influence will be minimal if the post is based, as planned, within the Department of Health.

If the nation does intend to give priority to public health, the task needs to be given to a minister of cabinet rank with full authority to refer back the plans of other departments (including Health) if necessary. Obviously, this can only be achieved by a minister of substantial seniority and independence.

Health has always been too important to leave to the Department of Health.

Donald Reid

Executive Director

Association for Public Health

London, NW1

30 June

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