The Health of the Nation – A Strategy for England is a national response to WHO'S Health for All by the Year 2000 initiative. It has great importance both because it focuses on health outcomes and because it selects mental illness as one of five priority areas. This article traces the historical background to the development of the White Paper, summarises the content of the mental illness key area and current progress in improving information and understanding and developing comprehensive services, and improving good practice. It draws out the implications for individual practitioners, users and cares, and for the working arrangements between purchasers and providers.
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