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Tories warn Britain is edging towards a “public health crisis”

11 January 2008

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The Conservatives have attacked the government’s plans for increased screening services, and claim the UK is on the verge of a “public health crisis”.

It comes after Gordon Brown pledged to create a health service dedicated to preventing illness by catching problems early.

But Shadow Health Minister Mark Simmonds said: “Urgent action must be taken to prevent a public health crisis.

“On Monday, the prime minister promised everyone in the country check-ups for heart, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

“Of course it is right that these checks are available to those who need them, but instead of this being the initiative-seizing new start for the prime minister, these proposals have been criticised by the very people who are charged with implementing them.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) attacked the announcement and said it was not consulted on the proposals.

Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo hit back at the Tories’ claims during a Commons debate, saying: “Some of the greatest improvements in the health of the population have been secured through preventative programmes.

“As the prime minister said, the future of the health service has to be about building partnerships, with patients and the NHS, ensuring patients are empowered to monitor their own health and to take forward the real choices that they can make.”

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