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Many changes will result from new chapter on public health
This week's journal contains the final article in its series on medical issues in Europe.(1) The series has shown that European health policy stands at the crossroads. The agreement reached by members of the European Community at Maastricht in December includes a new chapter on public health to be incorporated in the Treaty of Rome. Whereas previous health initiatives developed in the European Community in an ad hoc way from a fragile legal base,(1) in future there will be a specific mandate for action. As a consequence, the community's influence on health policy is likely to increase, particularly in relation to public health.
The wording of the new chapter indicates that the main priority will be given to disease prevention and health promotion. Its aim is to tackle "major health scourges" through research and health education. This will probably mean extending previous initiatives on cancer, AIDS, and drug misuse. In addition, the chapter emphasises that "health protection demands shall form a constituent part of the community's other policies," which opens up the prospect of taking action on policies in …