New Office for Health Promotion to drive improvement of nation’s health

The government has launched a new Office for Health Promotion to improve and level up the health of the nation by tackling obesity, improving mental health and promoting physical activity

Sitting within the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the new Office will lead work across government to promote good health and prevent illness which shortens lives and costs the NHS billions every year, building on the work of Public Health England.

It will enable more joined-up, sustained action between national and local government, the NHS and cross-government, where much of the wider determinants of health sit.

Around 80 per cent of people’s health outcomes are not related to the healthcare they receive but due to wider preventable risk factors such as diet, smoking, exercise. The new Office will help inform a new cross-government agenda which will look to track these wider determinants of health and implement policies in other departments where appropriate. This Office and approach will be modelled on successful methods to this agenda internationally, such as in Singapore, which has a Health Promotion Board, and has pioneered new digital public health schemes, such as their ‘National Steps Challenge’.

The Office will recruit an expert lead who will report jointly into the Health Secretary and the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty. The Office’s remit will be to systematically tackle the top preventable risk factors causing death and ill health in the UK, by designing, implementing and tracking delivery policy across government. It will bring together a range of skills to lead a new era of public health polices, leveraging modern digital tools, data and actuarial science and delivery experts.

The Office for Health Promotion will be established by the autumn. The government will set out more detail on plans and ambitions for improving the public’s health later this year.