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Preventive Medicine

Volume 173: debated on Tuesday 5 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent additional preventive medicine initiatives have been mounted by his Department.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply my hon. Friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn. Hatfield (Mr. Evans) on 23 January at column 670. Additional preventive medicine initiatives mounted by the Department since 23 January include:

  • (a) support for a wide range of programmes to prevent the spread of HIV infection through local authorities and health authorities, voluntary bodies and the Health Education Authority, whose latest mass media campaign was launched on 14 February 1990.
  • (b) the launch of the latest national drug publicity campaign in February at a cost of £3·8 million. Its aim is to maintain the current level of awareness about the dangers of drug misuse among young people. Complementary regional campaigns are being run in Yorkshire, Mersey and West Midlands.
  • (c) the funding by the Department, through the Health Education Authority, of the appointment of regional alcohol misuse co-ordinators in each of the 14 health regions. Their tasks include encouraging all the relevant agencies within their regions to co-operate in ensuring that help is available for people who misuse alcohol or are at risk of doing so, and in promulgating the importance of drinking sensibly. National Drinkwise Day on 12 June will provide a focus for health education about the dangers of alcohol misuse.
  • (d) as part of the "Look After Your Heart" programme a national fitness survey, jointly sponsored by the Department of Health, the Health Education Authority, and the Sports Council in conjunction with Allied Dunbar, was launched on 20 February 1990 to measure the nation's fitness. This entails the study of at least 6,000 adults of all ages to explore the relationship between exercise, fitness and health.
  • (e) as a further contribution to the "Look After Your Heart" programme, the national Heartbeat Award scheme was launched on 26 April 1990. This award is intended to encourage caterers to play an active role in reducing coronary heart disease by promoting healthy food choices, smoke-free areas and good standards of food hygiene. The award is endorsed and implemented by the Institute of Environmental Health Officers.
  • (f) together with the Health Education Authority and regional health authorities, 28 regional "Look After Your Heart" officers are in the process of being appointed and
  • (g) the preparation, with the Health Education Authority, of a further phase of a major education campaign on vaccination and immunisation due to be launched in September 1990. This has already been piloted in the north-west region.