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London's health - help from a new mayor?

By May 2000 London will have a new mayor and a new authority (The Greater London Authority). The seven million people who live in London are hoping he or she can improve their city, and a report published by the King's Fund calls for health 'to be an integral and essential component of all the GLA's policies'. Poverty is associated with poor health and 13 of the 20 most deprived boroughs in England are in London. The capital also has a large and expanding ethnic population with disproportionate unemployment and associated poor health. Air quality is another pressing issue and Londoners are hoping their new mayor will follow the example of the mayor of Rome who has taken action to restrict cars, improve public transport, monitor air quality, and convert motor vehicles to make them environmentally friendly. Ultimately it is the people who will decide the mayor's agenda. Hopefully, if enough interest is shown in health related issues the mayor will work constructively with the NHS to improve health.

BMJ 20 February.

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