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Home > Public Health

The contents of this website are under review following the formation of a new HM Government. Current information may be found at www.gonetwork.gos.gov.uk.

Public Health

The Regional Public Health and Social Care Directorate focuses on two main areas: improving public health and improving social care services for people in the East of England.

The East of England Public Health and Social Care Directorate works with other government departments, the (National Health Service), local government, universities and voluntary organisations to improve the health of the people living in our region and to reduce inequalities in health. We are responsible for ensuring that public health and social care policy is introduced, developed and implemented, capacity and networks developed, and the lessons learned spread so that as many people as possible benefit from advice and improved ways of working.

Public health works across communities and populations rather than at the level of the individual. It emphasises collective responsibility for health, its protection and disease prevention. Key to this is the recognition of the key role of the state, linked to a concern for the underlying socio-economic and wider determinants of health, as well as disease. Partnership working with all those who contribute to the health of the population is a main aim of public health action at all levels – nationally, regionally and locally. More information on the national picture

There are three main areas of public health practice-health improvement, health protection and health services.  Key partners include the NHS, local authorities and other agencies whose responsibilities include or impact on the health and well-being of local populations.  This involves addressing issues that influence and are affected by health and wellbeing such as behaviour and lifestyle, health and social care services, housing, education and skills, culture, community engagement, the economy, employment and transport, as well as health inequalities within our region

Since April 2007 the East of England Public Health and Social Care Directorate has moved towards an integrated structure to serve the needs of Government Office for the East of England, NHS East of England and the Department of Health. The Regional Director of Public Health leads a single team which serves the three organisations. Team members have the authority to act on behalf of the Strategic Health Authority, Department of Health or Government Office for the East of England. There are strengthened business management arrangements with a focus on delivery, with integrated business support functions across the team.

The Role of the Public Health and Social Care Team
The Public Health and Social Care Team is responsible for the development of regional partnerships to improve health and reduce inequalities. It also:

  • provides a regional overview of the health protection capability, which aims to manage risks to health, including emergency planning arrangements
  • builds regional partnerships to tackle the wider determinants of health such as housing, transport, education and ensure that health and social care issues are integrated into major policies
  • provides support for clinical developments and the delivery of health and social care services
  • provides leadership for public health and social care in the East of England and the development of capacity and networks

The East of England Public Health and Social Care Directorate is one of nine Regional Public Health and Social Care teams reporting to the Chief Medical Officer.  They all have broadly the same senior management structure and work closely together to ensure coherence and consistency providing national delivery on a number of key public health areas such as tobacco control, alcohol, obesity, physical activity, health inequalities and sexual health.

Multi-agency networks enable regional public health groups to build a strong health component into regional programmes such as crime, employment, economic development, transport, education and skills, housing, sustainable development and environment and regeneration.
Alongside public health specialists, many others make a significant public health contribution within their job roles – school teachers, health visitors, housing officers, planners, police and probation workers, community workers and others. Regional public health and social care teams have an important strategic role in building capacity and capability in the workforce at all of these levels.

The Regional Picture

The health of the people in the East of England is generally better than the average for England as a whole. However, it has fewer physically active adults and more road injuries and deaths than average.

There are inequalities in health within the East of England: the health of people in Peterborough is generally worse than the national average while the health of those in East Hertfordshire is generally better.

One in 7 adults in the East of England binge drinks. The region is not statistically above the national average for adult obesity, nevertheless obesity and physical activity in adults appear to be a problem for the East of England.

Generally, the health of children and young people is above average but there is considerable scope for further improvement.


The priorities for the region are:

  • delivering a better patient experience, including improving patient safety and access to services
  • improving people's health, including reducing premature deaths from heart disease, stroke and cancer and reducing harm from tobacco and alcohol
  • reducing unfairness in health, including improving access to healthcare for marginalised population groups and looked after children
  • securing the best start in life for children and young people, including tackling the rise in childhood obesity
  • supporting improved performance of adult social care services by working with Local Authorities and the Joint Improvement Partnership.

See also on our website

Public Health: the National Picture

Related content

Internet links

Contact information

Regional Public Health Group - East of England
Government Office for the East of England
Shaftesbury Road
tel: 01223 372977
fax: 01223 372801
email: EEPublicHealth@goeast.gsi.gov.uk

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