Health in the next Election
There’s talk of a General Election this autumn, perhaps as early as October. So, this seems a good time to raise questions we can ask each of the parties about their health policies.
We’re not talking here about the usual pledges to give the NHS more funding, welcome as that is if it materializes. The nation’s health depends on far more than the NHS. As we all know prevention is better than cure.
Take the news story recently reported on the BBC – about the teenager who has gone blind because he lived on a diet of chips, crisps, white bread and ham, so wasn’t getting the vitamins he needed. What we eat is just one of a number of factors that can have a big influence on our health.
So, check the party manifestos to see what they are proposing to:
- Improve child health, as the building block for long term mental and physical health.
- Make mass produced food and drink healthier – by reducing the levels of sugar, salt and saturated fat.
- Encourage physical activity.
- Reduce binge drinking and smoking.
- Tackle the social inequality that fuels health inequality.
- Give deprived communities and the people in them employment, hope and purpose in life.
- Reduce air pollution.
- Incentivize employers to encourage health at work.
- Learn from successful health initiatives in other countries – for example to reduce childhood obesity.
- Ensure the NHS does more to prevent illness (including mental Illness) not just treat it.
These are actions that could make a big difference for health in the UK.