chapter  15
22 Pages

Health Policy

ByMartin Powell

Health policy comprises all factors that have a signifi cant effect on health. In the extreme, all public policy is health policy because issues such as poverty, unemployment, housing, and pollution all have effects on health. However, it might be said that Britain has a policy for health services but no health policy. Although curative health services are the most visible symbols of health policy, their contribution to the nation’s health has been questioned, and the earliest legislation on health policy was not concerned with individual health care but with collective or population public health (Powell, 1997, p. 13). In 2007, over 11,000 readers of the British Medical Journal chose the ‘sanitary revolution’ (the introduction of clean water and sewage disposal) as the most important medical milestone since 1840 (when the British Medical Journal was fi rst published). This was closely followed by: antibiotics, anaesthesia, vaccines, and the discovery of the structure of DNA ( British Medical Journal , 2007).