Health and wellbeing

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Introduction

Supporting people to improve their health, preventing ill health and reducing health inequalities benefits the public and the NHS. The key lifestyle risk factors that impact on the health of the population in Essex are poor levels of physical activity, smoking, high levels of alcohol intake, obesity and unsafe sexual health practices. There is robust evidence that investment in early intervention and prevention reduces the demand on services and improves the quality and length of people’s lives.

Britain is now the most obese nation in Europe. We have among the worst rates of sexually transmitted infections recorded, a relatively large population of problem drug users and rising levels of harm from alcohol. Smoking alone claims over 80,000 lives every year. Experts estimate that tackling poor mental health could reduce our overall disease burden by nearly a quarter. Health inequalities between rich and poor have been getting progressively worse. We still live in a country where the wealthy can expect to live longer than the poor.

NHS Reforms - Public Health

In a move to strengthen both national and local leadership, directors of public health, employed by local authorities and jointly appointed with Public Health England, will take the lead for improving health and  co-ordinating local efforts to protect the public’s health and wellbeing, and ensuring health services effectively promote population health. Local authorities will also have responsibilities for commissioning specific public health services and will have the responsibility to ensure that the use of resources are prioritised to improve health and well-being in their communities supported by a ring fenced public health allocation.

Each local authority, together with their individual Director of Public Health, will act as strategic public health leaders for their local population. They will lead discussions about how their ring-fenced money should be spent to improve outcomes for people’s health and wellbeing locally. They should be in a position to ensure public health is always considered when Local Authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the local outpost of the NHS National Commissioning Board make decisions that may affect the local population.

The information on this site will help you improve your own health and well being and that of your family. It gives specific information on local services around smoking cessation, alcohol, sexual health  and a range of other health and wellbeing matters as well as signposting you to information from national organisations.