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Friday, 2 June, 2000, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Agency to tackle health inequalities
Inner city
Agency will focus on public health in poor areas
An agency to tackle health inequalities and spread good practice throughout the NHS has been launched.

The Health Development Agency (HDA) was unveiled by Public Health Minister Yvette Cooper on Friday.

The agency's top priority will be to reduce the inequalities in health between the affluent and the poor, particularly in areas such as diet and the prevention of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

It will do this by developing health promotion programmes, and by providing health workers with practical tips.


"In the 21st Century everyone should be allowed an equal chance to live a healthy life

Yvette Cooper, Public Health Minister

Information will be available to public health workers via a HDA website, Evidence Base 2000.

Ms Cooper said: "In the 21st Century everyone should be allowed an equal chance to live a healthy life regardless of his or her background.

"The HDA will play a major role in improving the health of the worst off, so that people on low incomes and benefits get the same chances for a healthy life as the rest of the population.

"We will start to tackle this huge task by providing professionals with the most up to date information possible on what works in health improvement, and supporting them to do their jobs better."

The HDA is already contributing to the National Plans for the new NHS.

HDA Chief Executive, Richard Parish, said the agency would work closely with a wide range of professionals from health visitors to housing officers.

"Ultimately, the public will benefit through better supported and more effective health development work carried out by a variety of agencies."

As well as having a national role, the HDA is setting up a network of eight regional centres based throughout England.

Experts from a wide range of public health related organisations including professional, public and voluntary sectors will help the HDA plan its work.

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29 Mar 00 | Health
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