Letters

I thought it would be helpful if I wrote to clarify the position on health action zone funding in east London following your news story (page 5, 6 July) in which I was quoted.

HAZ programme funding has in fact been cut in east London for this year and not increased, as stated in your article.

Although I am pleased we have finally been notified of funding levels for this year, I am disappointed that our HAZ programme funding has been reduced this late in the year. Many other HAZs have been able to use money from an underspend last year.

However, East London and the City HAZ had the smallest national underspend last year of 2 per cent, and therefore it is unable to cushion itself against the effects of these cuts in the same way.

The HAZ is vital in funding longterm local schemes to tackle key local health issues. We are currently running a range of very successful initiatives including a citizens' panel of3,000 people, an interpreting service for GPs, developing and implementing local guidelines on cardio-vascular disease and improving access to healthy foods to families on low income through children's breakfast clubs, food-cooperatives and cooking clubs.

Eventually many of these projects will be funded by mainstream health and social care budgets.

To this end we are setting up locality health and social care partnership boards to take this forward. In the short term we will be reviewing our HAZ expenditure and the board will consider revised budgets.

In the longer term we aim to continue the good work that HAZ funding is enabling us to carry out in east London.

Carolyn Regan Chief executive East London and the City HA