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Health expert calls for radical moves to improve NHS

24 October 2007

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A former senior policy advisor to Tony Blair claims the Government must take radical steps to solve problems in the health service.

Professor Julian Le Grand is proposing making big companies introduce “exercise hours” for staff, and has floated the idea of requiring smokers to apply for permits before they can buy tobacco.

He also believes a ban on salt in processed food, restrictions on the sale of alcohol, and an extension of the free fruit scheme for children should also be examined.

His call for action comes as growing evidence suggests the obesity crisis in the UK is steadily getting worse.

Experts predict that 60% of men, 50% of women, and a quarter of all children in the UK are likely to be clinically obese in 40 years’ time.

Professor Le Grand is chairman of Health England, the national reference group for health and wellbeing for the Department of Health.

He said: “We need new thinking and new ideas. We face new health challenges from obesity and old ones from smoking which add up to something of a crisis. There is a real risk that our children will die at a younger age than us.”

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