Regional Public Health Groups are part of the Department of Health and are co-located in each of England’s nine Government Offices. They work alongside public health colleagues in NHS, local authorities and other agencies to improve and protect their local population. This involves addressing all determinants of health - such as diet, housing, the economy, transport and mental health - and factors that create health inequalities within their region.
The main mechanism for influencing and collaborating with local government is through our support for Government Office directors to negotiate and review Local Area Agreements. Regional public health groups are responsible for ensuring that opportunities for health gain in these agreements are capitalised upon.
In addition regional public health groups work with various organisations, partnerships and communities who share the same common aim: to improve the public's health.
Changes to the structure of the NHS in 2006 has allowed for closer working between regional public health groups and the new NHS strategic health authorities. The Regional Directors of Public Health lead the public health teams in both organisations.
These multi-agency networks enable regional public health groups to build a strong health component into regional programmes such as crime, economic development, transport, education and skills, housing, environment and regeneration.
Alongside public health specialists, many others have a significant public health role within their job roles – school teachers, health visitors, housing officers, police and probation workers, community workers and others. Regional public health groups have an important strategic role in building capacity and capability in the public health workforce at all of these levels.