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Preventive Medicine

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the role of preventative medicine in the National Health Service. [102205]

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health, in his speech to the Faculty of Public Health Medicine on 20 November 2002, reaffirmed the Government's commitment to put public health and addressing health inequality at the heart of the National Health Service. Prevention and delaying the onset of disease are key priorities of the NHS Plan, Cancer Plan, and the national service frameworks (NSFs).The planning and priorities framework, "Improvement, Expansion and Reform", which sets out the priorities for the next three years for the NHS and social services, includes targets for:

smoking cessation (including reduction of smoking in pregnancy)
initiation of breastfeeding
practice-based registers to ensure that patients with or at risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes receive appropriate care and treatment in line with NSF standards, including advice on diet, physical activity and smoking.

Medical training, particularly undergraduate training is already beginning to reflect this emphasis upon prevention. Under the recently revised curriculum, set by the GeneralMedical Council, effectively on behalf of the Government, there is a substantially enhanced public health and prevention content.