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In 1998 the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health argued that the new millennium requires a journal of the times bringing together the strands of public health—the science and art, policy and practice. At around the same time the Department of Health for England announced the National Service Framework (NSF) programme, a programme to transform the way services are delivered for patients by the National Health Service and its partners. NSFs draw on the best of public health art and science—developing, implementing and evaluating practical policies to improve health and health services.
English national policy context
The NHS Plan1 sets out the main national priorities for the health service in England. Patients should have fair access and high standards of care wherever they live. At national level the Department of Health will, with the help of leading clinicians, managers, patients and carers, and partner organisations, set national standards in the priority areas. NSFs covering mental health2 and coronary heart disease3 have already been published. The National Cancer Plan was published in September 2000.4 An NSF for older people and one for diabetes will be published in 2001. These five NSFs between them cover around half of total NHS spending. Further NSFs will be developed on a rolling basis over the 10 year period of the NHS Plan. The government has announced that the next NSFs in the programme will be renal services, children's services and for long term health conditions, focusing on neurological conditions.
Saving lives: our healthier nation 5 set out the government's plan to improve health and reduce health inequalities. It focused on cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke, accidents and mental health, the major causes of premature …