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'The health of the Nation - a strategy for health in England' white paper

In 1992, the government published its The health of the Nation - a strategy for health in England white paper. This followed the publication of Health for all by the year 2000 by the World Health organization (WHO), published in 1978 as part of the wider 'New Public Health Movement'.

The white paper set out how the health system would make real health gains by building on the proposals made by the WHO. The paper outlined a framework for health policy between 1992 and 1997 and applied a strategic approach to population-wide health improvement. 

The white paper set improvement targets in five areas:

  • coronary heart disease and stroke
  • cancer
  • accidents
  • mental illness
  • HIV/AIDs and sexual health.    

The paper was clear that the government had a strategic role to play in realising the ambitions set out, by ensuring all government departments were involved in promoting considerations of health improvement in policy making.

The report was, however, criticised by some for focusing too much on better clinical management of public health concerns, and not following the WHO's proposals to address inequality and other socioeconomic problems which give rise to such conditions.


Department of Health.
The Health of the Nation - a policy assessed: Executive Summary.
HMSO; 1998.

Radical Statistics Health Group.
Missing: a strategy for health of the nation.
1991; Aug 3; 303(6797): 299–302.

Department of Health.
The health of the Nation - a strategy for health in England.
HMSO; 1992.