I wonder if other readers have noticed the uncanny resemblance between the draft green paper, Our Healthier Nation (News, page 5, News Focus, pages 12-13, and Comment, 22 January), and The Health of the Nation white paper published in 1992 by the Conservative government.

The Health of the Nation (appendix F, paragraphs 15-17) says: 'In England, as in all other westernised countries, there are variations in health status between different socio-economic groups within the population...' The reasons for these variations are by no means fully understood. They are likely to be the result of a complex interplay of genetic, biological, social, environmental, cultural and behavioural factors'.

Our Healthier Nation says: 'The government does not propose at this stage to set national targets to narrow health inequalities... Because the causation is complex and many factors inter-react, it is not possible to set realistic quantified targets for greater health equality at this stage.'

Are the strategies by any chance related?

Alex Scott-Samuel,

EQUAL (Equity in Health Research and Development Unit),

Department of public health,

Liverpool University.