Annual Public Health Report

This is the main page for all of the Suffolk Annual Public Health Reports. 

This is an independent report from the Director of Public Health. This is a core part of the Suffolk Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and feeds directly in to the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy (JHWS).


View the 2021 Annual Public Health Report.


Launched: 2nd December 2021

APHR 2021
APHR 2021

This year’s report titled “Better, together: Public Mental Health in Suffolk”, focuses on the actions that need to be taken to support and enable collective good mental health and wellbeing in the community, following the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

View the full Better, together: Public Mental Health in Suffolk report

View the recommendations from the report

Read Suffolk case studies about work supporting public mental health

In 2020 the focus of the report was on health inequalities: A Time to Change: Working Towards Better Health for All in Suffolk

Take a look at this year's Annual Public Health Report  

And also Our Commitment to Change

This year, the focus of the report is children and young people in Suffolk, Suffolk through a child’s eyes.

The written report captures some of the latest data and evidence related to children and young people. 

However, the integral part of this year’s report is the accompanying short film where we have tried to capture what Suffolk children think.  

We have listened to what they have to say about: Friends and Family; Feelings; Fit and Healthy and Future Hopes and Dreams. We have used what they told us, together with local and national evidence, to produce our recommendations.

Read Suffolk Through a Child's Eyes

Make sure you watch our video! It's the main feature of this year's report! 

A shorter version of the video is also available


Being able to talk about dying is essential when it comes to preparing ourselves for our own death. Yet, we often avoid even the word. It is often seen as an uncomfortable topic. But it is vital that both professionals and residents in Suffolk feel as comfortable as possible in talking about their wishes, their requests, their beliefs and discussing those with their families and friends.

That is what this year’s report is all about.

By putting plans in place earlier and thinking about what matters to us and our family, it may be possible to die ‘well’, and in the place of our choosing.

In 2018, we really wanted to illustrate our report title - that everyone leaves a lasting legacy. The designers of this year’s Annual Public Health Report have taken inspiration from artwork produced by individuals at St Nicholas Hospice Care during their Orchard Day Therapy sessions.  The front cover of this year's report is one of the pieces of artwork that was produced.  Also have a look at the summary video from the 2018 Health and Wellbeing Board conference, which focused on end of life

View the report online HERE! 

View the video:

This year’s report focuses on inclusive growth and the links between health and work.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development defines inclusive growth as:

Economic growth that creates opportunities for all segments of the population and distributes the dividends of increased prosperity, both in monetary and non-monetary terms, fairly across society.

Inclusive growth is about ensuring that economic growth benefits everyone. It has been recognised as a key priority for Suffolk County Council over the next four years.
Inclusive growth can help people fulfil their potential and improve their quality of life. It recognises the importance of local businesses and education institutions, which create opportunities for local residents to live, work and thrive, and make it easier to spend Suffolk money in Suffolk, multiplying the local economic benefits of that spending. It also recognises that the personal and fiscal costs of poverty are huge, and, with more lone parent and working families struggling, the negative impacts of failing to spread the benefits of economic growth may become entrenched and persistent. 

The 2017 Annual Public Health Report, and 2017 Action Plan.

The burden of mental ill health is great. However, mental health often receives less attention, and services are frequently separate to those for physical health.

Suffolk is committed to valuing mental health equally with physical health, embodying the NHS England parity of esteem programme.
There are many factors that contribute to good mental health and emotional wellbeing, some of which are less modifiable such as gender and ethnicity.

Others, such as our lifestyle and behaviours, are modifiable.

This report describes some of the factors that can affect mental health at different stages of our lives and what we can do at an individual, community and service level in order to:

  • Promote mental health and emotional wellbeing.
  • Prevent mental ill health.
  • Ensure people lead happier, healthier lives for longer.

This 2016 Annual Public Health Report acts as a springboard for the Suffolk mental health promotion plan and Suffolk’s five year suicide prevention strategy - Suffolk Lives Matter which was in place from 2016-2021.

The report gives recommendations for actions in all settings to prevent mental ill health, and to help people with mental health difficulties remain healthy in the future. There is also a 2016 APHR Action Plan.

“Mental ill health can affect anyone at any age. The aim of this report is to paint a picture of mental health in Suffolk, including the number of people living with mental ill health at various life stages, and those who may be at risk of developing mental ill health in the future.”

The Annual Public Health Review 2015 looks at actions that can have an impact on Suffolk's health over a 5-10 year period. Here the public health team has pulled together the evidence that could drive a real change for people in Suffolk, helping us live longer in good health. This is in preparation for Suffolk’s first prevention strategy, under the watchful eye of the Health & Wellbeing Board.
Graeme Gordon has talked about how policy is driven by different kinds of evidence:

  • scientific evidence
  • the evidence of our own eyes and ears
  • political belief systems, which he likens to faith, ‘the substance of things hoped for: the evidence of things not seen’.

The content of this report speaks in some way to all three kinds of evidence. Being a public health report, the scientific evidence takes  centre stage. It is patchy in places but nonetheless compelling. It reminds us that we have all seen friends and family and strangers who are unable to live the life they want to live because of ill health that was potentially preventable. I am yet to meet anyone who wants people to be less well or to direct scarce resources to avoidable treatments for preventable illness.

Compiling the evidence is only the start, the real challenge is putting evidence into action. The Health & Wellbeing Board is committed to preventing ill health. This report illustrates what can we do now, that will impact soon, to narrow the gap between healthy life expectancy and overall life expectancy.

Annual Public Health Review Action Plan.

The 2014 Annual Public Health Report brings together information from conception, through pregnancy and on into infancy and the preschool years. It is focussed on families but also considers the environment Suffolk children grow up in and being in early years, from conception to starting school, shines a spotlight on areas of continuing inequality.

The early years present a once in a lifetime opportunity. Our first hours, weeks and months are the building blocks for the rest of our lives. Where we live, how we are cared for, the experiences we have, what we eat, see, hear and feel all affect our health and wellbeing, not only as babies and toddlers but on into adulthood.

Despite Suffolk's wonderful environment and the huge range of services available for families, stark differences in life chances and achievement persist between our communities. Only half of our babies are being breastfed, in some areas 1 in 5 mothers smoke while they are pregnant, and fewer of our children are ready for school than our neighbouring counties of Essex and Cambridgeshire.

We have a new opportunity in 2015, when Health Visiting services return to local control. Commissioners wanted a central resource to help this transition and that is where the idea for this compendium was born.

In Suffolk we recognise the importance of early years. ‘Every Child in Suffolk has the Best Start in Life’ is priority one in our Health and Wellbeing strategy. As a community, we are working hard through programmes like Raising the Bar, Making Every Intervention Count and Signs of Safety to do the best we can with the resources we have available to us. But there is more to do and this report describes areas where we are doing well, as well as areas where we can do better. The aim is to promote debate and more importantly, action.

Moving Forward: Travel and Health in Suffolk is the 2013 Annual Public Health Report for Suffolk.

This report describes the relationship between transport and our health. It demonstrates that the relationship between the two is complicated but full of opportunity.

  • BECAUSE we don’t travel enough in a physically active way, we are becoming sick from diseases such as heart disease. 
  • BECAUSE of the risks associated with the cars and lorries on our roads, we are injured, disabled and sometimes killed in road traffic accidents. 
  • BECAUSE of the air pollution from all of these vehicles, some of us will suffer from heart disease or respiratory problems and this may even shorten our lives.
  • BECAUSE we feel that our roads are unsafe, we are scared to ride our bikes to work or school.
  • BECAUSE our journeys aren’t always stress-free, we are not as happy as we could be.

But this is not how it has to be. This report presents case studies of healthy travel now and it looks to the future. We consider what changes are coming to society and how we can best respond to these to create a Suffolk we all want to live in, one where we can be healthy and happy and still get to where we need to go.

Suffolk is a rural county. There is no doubt that this means some travel options, like the ones used in big cities, aren’t possible. Our rural county provides us with a pleasant place to live and opportunities to enjoy the outdoors not afforded to those living elsewhere. This report considers how we might be able to keep the benefits of individual car travel such as convenience and flexibility, while removing the problems which arise from it. New technology will play a part in this but so will doing things differently. 

There is little doubt that how we travel will change in the future. The task ahead of us is to make sure these changes result in us living longer, happier and healthier lives.

Are we sitting comfortably? A story of health in Suffolk is the 2012 Annual Report of the Director of Public Health in Suffolk.

The aim of an annual public health report is to provide an independent view on the health of the population of Suffolk. This report
complements the 2011-14 Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, The State of Suffolk.

This report presents information from a brand new collection of data which will form the Public Health Outcomes Framework for England. The framework was published in January 2012 and sets the context and strategic direction for the new public health system, with the vision of improving and protecting health and improving the health of the poorest fastest. The intention is that this framework refocuses the whole
system around achieving positive outcomes and improving health inequalities. It looks at a wider set of data than we have used in the past to measure public health. The indicator set is not yet complete and will be further developed during the year.

My intention in this report is to introduce the outcomes framework to you. I have used the indicators we have so far, to paint a picture of
health across Suffolk and to point out areas that I believe deserve special attention. 

The 2011 Annual Public Health Report for Suffolk provides an assessment of the factors that can promote health and wellbeing at a community level. The importance of very local initiatives to improve health and wellbeing has yet to be fully acknowledged.

Factors that affect local wellbeing include educational attainment, material wellbeing, social networks, employment opportunities, access to public services, crime levels and local infrastructure. This report provides examples of community profiles which give an overview of these factors, comparing data between communities and shows progress over the last few years. Each profile concludes by suggesting which community assets might be built on and which vulnerabilities may need to be addressed.

Practically, the information in the report is designed to be a starting point for discussion and will not give a complete picture of the community. It is nonetheless, a rich source of knowledge that can inform community priorities and conversations, inspire further health and
wellbeing initiatives and act as an official source of data to support grant applications. The content is in direct response to requests following last year’s report, which gave similar data at district level.

The 2010 Annual Public Health Report for Suffolk looks at how different opportunities and chances throughout life influence the health of people in Suffolk, and includes the effects of health behaviour, physical and social environments. We also give information about the health of people in Suffolk and in each local authority area.

In this report, data refers to Suffolk county, unless stated otherwise. In some instances, data for the NHS Suffolk area rather than Suffolk county is presented, and this is clearly indicated in the text.

The content of this report was chosen for two main reasons:

  1. To recognise the contribution of district and borough councils, local strategic partnerships and the voluntary sector, towards making Suffolk the healthiest county.
  2. To report on a ground-breaking public health report published in 2010, 'Fair Society, Healthy Lives', written by Sir Michael Marmot. Referred to as the Marmot Review, the report shows that in England and Wales, the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest - called the health inequalities gap - has not decreased in the last 30 years.

The 2009 Annual Public Health Report focuses on mental health. The purpose of this report is to highlight the major mental health issues for Suffolk, and to make suggestions for service development.

There are two components to mental health:

  • the care and treatment of those who have become ill, and
  • the prevention of mental health problems before they arise. 

Although local services for people who have mental health problems have improved over the last ten years, there are still areas where further improvements are needed, or where services are not meeting need.

The 2008 Annual Public Health Report looks at health inequalities and diversity in Suffolk.

Some groups in our Suffolk communities suffer relatively poor health - a fact that has been shown in several previous public health reports - with a growing lifespan difference between wards of about 12 years. These inequalities are largely the result of differences in income, gender, geography, ethnicity and life circumstances. 

In this year's annual public health report, we have looked at the needs of some often overlooked communities where poorer health is more likely. Covered in the report are the needs of prisoners, sex workers, carers, black and ethnic minority communities, including gypsies and travellers, migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees.None of these groups share any obvious common characteristics. However, relatively little is known about their health needs.

This report is not comprehensive, but it will help to inform future plans for these groups. There are several other groups which merit attention but are not included. We hope to consider these in future years.

The Annual Public Health Report 2006-07 Children and young people: changing the health environment in Suffolk.

This year’s report focuses on the health of children and young people in Suffolk.

We use a number of case studies and illustrations to examine topics which are vital for improving and sustaining good health for this important age group, and how we as a community can change the health environment for children, young people and families in Suffolk