Better Health, Fairer Health

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Better Health, Fairer Health

Ambitious plans to transform the health of the North East were formally launched by minister for the region Nick Brown in February 2008

The area's first ever health and well-being strategy aims to make people living here the healthiest in the country within a generation.

The strategy is led by regional director of public health Professor Stephen Singleton and was developed following a three-month consultation.

He said: “We received responses from all quarters about whether we should have an ambitious strategy - and they were overwhelmingly positive.

“We are still at an early stage and this is a first edition. It is by no means an end product.

“My vision is that the North East will have the best and fairest health and well-being and will be recognised for its outstanding and sustainable quality of life.”

Ten key themes have been identified for the 25-year plan:

Specific actions include setting up a regional office for the safe consumption of alcohol based on the highly successful Fresh – Smoke Free North East model.

A director has been appointed and the office, based in Darlington, will be operational early in 2009.

Regional advisory groups have been created from across the public, private, voluntary and community sectors to take work forward in all ten areas.

They will be supported by the establishment of a regional public health centre of research excellence, which was announced in early 2008.

The £5 million development is one of five nationally – and the only one based on a substantial regional collaboration.

A social marketing and communications collaborative is also being established to help make the strategy a reality.

Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, chairs the North East Public Health Board, the group overseeing the strategy.

Mr Brown said: “The health of people living in the North East has been too poor for too long.

“We are consistently top of the health league for all the wrong reasons, partly as a legacy of heavy industry and partly because of our lifestyles.

“It is to the credit of Dr Singleton and his colleagues that they have taken an unrelentingly optimistic approach to what can be achieved – and I look forward to the day when the North East is the healthiest region in the country.”