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Wednesday, 26 July 2006 10:18
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Blair in health responsibility call
People must take more responsibility for their health to relieve pressure on the NHS; Tony Blair is expected to say.

In a major speech on Wednesday 26th July, the Prime Minister will reflect on how the role of the state in promoting social progress has evolved.

In particular, he will look at new ways of improving public health by promoting healthy living.

This is the PM's second lecture under the banner "Our Nation's Future" - special events intended to address the major long-term challenges for Britain.

The aim of these speeches is to launch a "real debate about the big challenges".

The speech follows the Government's Small Change, Big Difference campaign, set up to encourage people to improve their health.

"It has got to be about prevention as much as about cure," Mr Blair said on Tuesday at a Labour party event.

"The question is what the Government can do for the future to encourage more healthy lifestyles and living”.

He said the debate was "important because going forward we can't afford the healthcare costs if we don't take some of the responsibility as individuals for our healthcare”.

He added: "We are in a situation where no matter how much money we spend on health, if we are carrying more cases of diabetes than we need, losing vast sums on treating alcohol abuse and smoking; if we are in a position where we are still carrying these costs, in time we have got a crunch in policy down the line”.

The chairman of the health select committee, Kevin Barron, told the BBC that it is the Government's job to try to persuade people to live healthily.

"What all governments have to do is think about what's good for the public, getting the right messages out and just getting on with it," he said.

"Put right, argued properly, [with] sensible policies, we shouldn't be scared of somebody shouting to us 'nanny state'."

But Professor Danny Dorling from the University of Sheffield, an expert on health inequalities, does not think Tony Blair's ideas will be well received by the public.

"I think it will be perceived as insulting by those who it's aimed at.

"What you need to begin looking after yourself better is to have self respect, and self respect comes from being treated well by society.

"If you have a society that tells increasing numbers of people that they have less and less worth, while others are allowed to become richer and richer and richer, it's very hard to get people's self worth up”.
   


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