2008 Annual Report of the South East Regional Directors of Public Health
The first joint annual report of Professor Yvonne Doyle and Professor John Newton, the South East regional directors of public health, has been published by the Department of Health South East (South East Public Health Group) and South Central and South East Coast Strategic Health Authorities.
The 2008 annual report aims to:
explain the recent changes to the regional health and social care function, and provide an overview of national policy developments
focus on the mechanisms for delivering the region's health and social care priorities
serve as a progress report and data compendium on the six themes of the South East Health Strategy: health inequalities, a sustainable region, safer communities, employment and health, children and young people, and later life.
Comments on the report are warmly welcomed and can be addressed to Professor Doyle and Professor Newton at: email@example.com
A PDF copy of the report is available at the bottom of this page and print copies are available on request from the Department of Health South East at the email address above or by telephoning: 01483 884 836.
About us - the South East Public Health Group
The South East Public Health Group, based in the Government Office for the South East (GOSE), is the Department of Health's presence in the region. We are part of a broader regional public health function which includes teams in:
- South Central and South East Coast Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs)
- the Health Protection Agency (HPA), and
- the South East Public Health Observatory (SEPHO)
The Public Health Group is led by the two regional directors of public health, Professor Yvonne Doyle, who is also director of public health at South East Coast SHA, and Professor John Newton, who is director of public health at South Central SHA. The joint role of the regional directors ensures very close working between the Public Health Group, the two SHAs and the wider NHS public health function across the region.
Public health is concerned with the health of the population as a whole, rather than treating diseases in individual patients. The primary responsibilities of the Public Health Group are to:
- improve the health of the population of the South East and reduce health inequalities
- protect the population and build resilience against threats to health such as pandemic flu, and
- to provide leadership and build expertise across the wider public health workforce in the region.
Key to the successful delivery of these responsibilities is partnership working. In addition to the strong links with the SHAs and HPA, the Public Health Group works to help improve the health of the population in partnership with the other government departments based in the Government Office for the South East , as well as:
- the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA)
- the South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA)
- Primary Care Trusts
- Local Authorities
- the voluntary and community sector, and
- the business and academic sectors
As the factors determining the health of the population not only include individual lifestyles, cultural influences and access to high quality health and social care services, but also employment, education, housing, the environment and a range of other determinants, so working in close partnership with the agencies responsible for these areas is vital.
The South East England Health Strategy
The strong partnership working on public health can be seen in the development of the South East England Health Strategy. Produced by the Public Health Group in close collaboration with the two SHAs, GOSE, SEEDA and SEERA, the Health Strategy seeks to bring together all those organisations and groups with a role to play in improving health and well-being in the region.
The health of the population of the South East is generally good. Life expectancy for men and women is the highest and second highest respectively in England, and overall compares favourably with many of our European neighbours. Early deaths from the main killers – circulatory disease (heart disease and stroke) and cancer – are low compared with the England average, and people in the South East generally lead healthier lifestyles than those elsewhere in the country.
However, these averages conceal marked inequalities in health. For example, the early death rate from circulatory disease in the fifth of Local Authority areas with the worst rates is over 60% higher than in the fifth with the best rates. Many of those living in isolated rural areas and in our coastal cities and towns face particular health challenges, as do many groups such as children and young people and the elderly. Across the region as a whole, these inequalities are strongly linked to deprivation and signal that the generally good health of the region is not shared equally by all.
The objective of the Health Strategy is to improve the health of the population and tackle these inequalities by focusing the work of the NHS, Local Authorities, the voluntary and community sector and other partners on six key themes:
- reducing health inequalities
- promoting a sustainable region
- developing safer communities
- increasing the positive relationship between employment and health
- improving outcomes for children and young people, and
- improving outcomes in later life.
The full version of the strategy was launched in February 2008, and further detail on aims and objectives for each theme can be clicking on each of the theme links. Further information on the strategy – including the equality impact assessment and sustainability appraisal – can also be obtained from the SEPHO website.
The progress being made in delivering the Health Strategy will be publicly reported on in the annual report of the regional directors of public health. Comments on the strategy are welcome at any point and can be addressed to Professors Yvonne Doyle and John Newton: