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Heart Disease

Volume 169: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has received the report of the management consultants who were appointed to review health education in Scotland; and if he will make a statement on the position of coronary heart disease prevention in Scotland.

Touche Ross Management Consultants submitted their report on health education in Scotland on 21 December. A copy of their report has been placed in the Library.The consultants have produced a comprehensive study and detailed recommendations which will require careful consideration. In the light of their proposals, the Government intend to take the following steps:

A national policy statement on health education in Scotland with a positive orientation towards health promotion will be prepared and, following consultation, will be widely disseminated;
The statement will provide guidance on approaches to health education appropriate to Scottish needs and circumstances; and it will provide guidance on the relationship between a general positive life styles approach and more specifically targeted approaches;
Powers will be sought in the National Health Service and Community Care Bill, enabling a new national health education organisation to be established. It is envisaged that the new organisation, which will replace the Scottish Health Education Group, will come into operation on 1 April 1991;
The new health education organisation will operate within the framework of the national policy statement and on the basis of policy guidance from the Scottish Home end Health Department;
The organisation will take steps to improve the publication and supply of health education material to health boards and other interested groups;
Health boards will be required to develop a strategy for health education within guidelines set by the national policy statement;
Liaison between the national organisation and health boards will be improved by the establishment of a formal liaison group;
The national organisation will commission research to establish the cost-effectiveness of health education/promotion programmes.

The Scottish Health Education Group will continue its activities in the meantime and provide the main staffing and expertise of the new organisation.

A study on coronary heart disease in Scotland undertaken by a working group of the Scottish Health Service Planning Council on Prevention and Health Promotion has also been completed and a copy of the group's report has been placed in the Library.

The group has confirmed the serious incidence of coronary heart diseases in Scotland and advised that the general positive life styles approach, already adopted in Scotland, is the most effective means of preventing coronary heart disease. It recommends, however, that this general approach should be presented more aggressively than at present and should be reinforced by an approach which targets health education at individuals most at risk, principally through the primary care sector.

The prevention of coronary heart disease will be one of the specific subjects that will be addressed in the Government's national policy statement and in the remit given to the new health education body. The details of the proposed individual approach will be carefully examined and taken into account in the continuing development of our approach to coronary heart disease prevention.

The Government acknowledge the capable work of Touche Ross Management Consultants and the Scottish Health Service Planning Council Working Group on Prevention and Health Promotion and believe that the strategy outlined in this answer, which is based on their conclusions, will enable health education generally, and coronary heart disease in particular, to be tackled more effectively in Scotland.