Health policy

Health policy:

A formal statement or procedure within institutions (notably government) which defines priorities and the parameters for action in response to health needs, available resources and other political pressures.

Reference: modified definition

Health policy is often enacted through legislation or other forms of rule-making which define regulations and incentives which enable the provision of health services and programmes, and access to those services and programmes. Health policy is currently distinguished from healthy public policy by its primary concern with health services and programmes. Future progress in health policies may be observed through the extent to which they may also be defined as healthy public policies.

As with most policies, health policies arise from a systematic process of building support for public health action that draws upon available evidence, integrated with community preferences, political realities and resource availability.

Source: Health Promotion Glossary (1998), WHO/HPR/HEP/98.1