Ministers have bowed to demands from health campaigners to give London's mayor responsibility for public health issues.

A government amendment to the Greater London Authority Bill strengthens the mayor's power to influence health strategy.

The amendment, which will be put down when the bill returns to the Commons next week, requires the mayor to carry out a health impact assessment on all the authority's policies. And the authority itself will be required to 'promote improvements in the health of persons in Greater London'. But the amendment does not create the chief medical officer post demanded by the British Medical Association or the public health director post the King's Fund called for.

The greater London authority will not run London's health services. But its work on air quality, the environment and economic development will affect health and health services.

See comment, page 15.