Health Needs Assessments

What is health needs assessment?

Health needs assessment is a systematic method for reviewing the health issues facing a population, leading to agreed priorities and resource allocation that will improve health and reduce inequalities.

Why undertake HNA?

  • HNA is a recommended public health tool to provide evidence about a population on which to plan services and address health inequalities
  • HNA provides an opportunity to engage with specific populations and enable them to contribute to targeted service planning and resource allocation
  • HNA provides an opportunity for cross-sectoral partnership working and developing creative and effective interventions

Source: Summary: Health needs assessment at a glance. 

Suffolk Beach huts
Suffolk Beach huts

The needs assessment for mental health was commissioned to support mental health improvement and the development of services. 

View the suite of Mental Health Needs Assessment reports.

This report presents the findings from the Suffolk healthy ageing needs assessment. It brings together information and evidence on ageing and older people in Suffolk. It also highlights inequalities affecting Suffolk residents as they age and identifies gaps in local services relevant to older people.

The needs assessment was undertaken with the support of the healthy ageing needs assessment steering group. The group was made up of stakeholders from various organisations across the Suffolk system (please see “Acknowledgements” section for list of members).

An executive summary can be downloaded here

The full document can be downloaded here

There is strong evidence that children in care are at a higher risk of poor health, education and social outcomes than their peers who are not in care and these disadvantages persist into adulthood.

This needs assessment relates to the health and wellbeing needs of children in care (aged 0-17 years) including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) and care leavers. The primary aim is to assess whether current services are meeting the health and wellbeing needs of this group of children.

Read the full report HERE

Published July 2018

Updated August 2018 (author additions)

The aim of the young people’s substance misuse Health Needs Assessment (HNA) is to establish whether the current services relating to drugs and alcohol meet the needs of substance misusers and those at risk of substance misuse up to the age of 25 (‘young people’).

For the full report click HERE

This Health Needs Assessment (HNA) focuses particularly on the relationship between housing and health, and explores that relationship in the context of Suffolk’s housing stock and housing costs. It considers the following dimensions of health and housing:

• Unhealthy housing
• Unsafe housing
• Unsuitable housing
• Insecure housing

To view the full document click HERE

To view the summary infographic click HERE

The following document recognises the important role that physical activity plays in today’s society and recognises the many influencing factors on physical activity.

The physical activity needs assessment has been developed to provide an evidence base from which a coordinated and integrated strategy and action plan can be developed to specifically address the physical activity needs in Suffolk.

Short version: here

Full document: here

Download Suffolk Child and Adolescents with Speech, Language and Communication Needs: Needs Assessment Refresh (PDF, 754KB).

This refresh provides an update for the following sections of the original needs assessment:

  • Impact of speech and language difficulties
  • Expected numbers, distribution and pattern by person, place and time
  • Service use
  • Summary of a scoping review of research on effectiveness of different service delivery models

In addition, a summary report detailing the results of engagement with parents, carers and families in relation to speech, language and communication needs of CYP and families in Suffolk is available. 

Download Speech, Language and Communication needs of CYP and families in Suffolk: results of engagement with parents, carers and families (PDF, 623KB).

Download the Needs Assessment here 

This report combines data from national bodies, Suffolk County Council, and partner organisations to assess the health and wellbeing of children and young people (CYP) in Suffolk. It comprises four chapters: demographic information, vulnerable groups, health, and education.

Download Suffolk Young Peoples’ Health and Wellbeing Profiling Project 12 to 21 (PDF, 959KB).

This novel report details both adults and young people’s perspectives on issues related to health, wellbeing and life chances in Suffolk. The report is based on focus group and workshop discussions. It will complement the refresh of the State of Children in Suffolk report, which is due to be published in winter 2016. The report is a small scale qualitative research piece, that was conducted over 3 months and took a human-centred, participatory, discursive approach.

The focus groups included seven young people (12 to 15 years old) from two rural schools in the county, separate workshops included seventeen adult staff from local authority and non-governmental organisations and seven young people (16 to 19 years old) from a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender +(LGBT+) Outreach Group. The group predominantly discussed issues around mental health reflecting a synergy with the national context. However, other aspects were specific to their LGBT+ status and these have been specifically highlighted as such throughout the report.

The purpose of the research was to engage both adult staff and young people in discussions on health, wellbeing and life chances. Furthermore it aimed to empower young people to actively participate in the project, and facilitated the sharing of their unique and personal perspectives on this topic. Whilst we are aware this piece of research is small, and therefore its generalisability to the whole of Suffolk’s young people population is limited, we believe it brings a novel insight into young people’s views. It also gave individuals an opportunity to have these views heard, something that would have otherwise been missed.

November 2016 update: Further exploratory work has now been completed: Perceptions of young people on their health, wellbeing and life chances Summary of findings of engagement work with young people in Suffolk (PDF, 314KB).


Download Hidden Harm Needs Assessment (PDF, 5MB).

Hidden Harm is abuse or neglect experienced by a child or young person living with parents, carers or another adult because of that adult’s substance misuse or poor mental health, because of domestic abuse or because of a combination of these.

Download Alcohol use in the over 50s, Suffolk Needs Assessment (PDF, 2MB).

Download the report Appendix (PDF, 2MB).

People over 50 sometimes drink excessively. Although guidance on healthy ageing does not currently identify excessive alcohol consumption as a risk factor for illness and death in older people, the risk that alcohol poses means that it must be considered in assessing their health needs in Suffolk.

Download Suffolk Dementia Needs Assessment (PDF, 3MB).

Although a full Needs Assessment (NA) for Dementia in Suffolk was completed in November 2013, since then national policy, prevalence estimates, guidance on service provision and research findings related to dementia have continued to evolve. This document should be read in conjunction with the full dementia needs assessment.

Download Suffolk Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Needs Assessment Refresh Report (PDF, 1MB).

This report is a refreshed version of the previous needs assessment completed in 2013. Main objectives were to assess and report unmet needs of local children and young people who require mental health services for different service level (tier) at any given time, identify gaps in current provision in terms of access and availability, and make recommendations for further improvement.

Please also look at this executive summary document (PDF, 627KB) that summarises both the CAMHS Needs Assessment and the Children and young people in Suffolk with emotional and/or behavioural difficulties Needs Assessment.


Download Health needs assessment: Children and young people in Suffolk with emotional and/or behavioural difficulties (PDF, 1MB).

The overall aim of this needs assessment was to determine the size and needs of this group of children and young people, establish whether available provision in Suffolk is adequately supporting these children and young people and identify areas for further development.

Please also look at this executive summary document (PDF, 627KB) that summarises both the CAMHS Needs Assessment and the Children and young people in Suffolk with emotional and/or behavioural difficulties Needs Assessment.

Download Sexual Health Needs Assessment Suffolk (PDF, 5MB).

This health needs assessment has been undertaken in order to better understand the level of need and demand and to inform commissioning decisions and delivery of Suffolk sexual health services.

Download Groups at Risk of Disadvantage Health Needs Assessment (PDF, 4MB).

This complex health needs assessment considers the health of nine different communities that are at risk of disadvantage.  Also have a look at this experimental document, that attempts to explore some of the potential connections between the different groups within this report.

Find individual chapters: 

  1. Executive summary (PDF, 320KB)
  2. Asylum seekers and refugees (PDF, 453KB)
  3. Migrants from Eastern Europe (PDF, 704KB)
  4. Female Genital Mutilation (PDF, 890KB)
  5. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities (PDF, 595KB)
  6. Homelessness (PDF, 924KB)
  7. New Psychoactive Substances (PDF, 733KB)
  8. Rurality (PDF, 1MB)
  9. Transgender community (PDF, 782KB)
  10. Sickle Cell community (PDF, 442KB)


Download Prison Health and Social Care Needs Assessment (PDF, 3MB).

This assessment looks at health and social care needs, service provision, and activities that impact on a prisoner’s health needs.

Download People with Learning Disabilities in Suffolk (age 14 and over): Health and Social Needs Assessment (PDF, 1MB).

This needs assessment aims to identify the key needs of people with learning disabilities in Suffolk aged fourteen years and over.

Download Oral Health Needs Assessment for East Anglia Area Team (PDF, 4MB).

Oral health in adults and children in East Anglia is generally good. However, population averages mask oral health inequalities. This needs assessment looks at oral health across East Anglia.

Supporting information from Public Health England:

Download Suffolk Carers Needs Assessment (PDF, 4MB).

Download Suffolk Carers Needs Assessment: Young Carers and Young Adult Carers Supplementary Report (PDF, 1MB).

The scope of this needs assessment covers carers across of all ages, including young carers, young adult carers and adult carers.

This report on young carers and young adult carers in Suffolk has been embarked upon as a supplementary annex to the full healthcare needs assessment on unpaid carers, undertaken in October 2014.

Download A Health Needs Assessment for complainants of Sexual Assault in Norfolk and Suffolk (PDF, 1MB).

A health needs assessment on sexual assault referral centres for Norfolk and Suffolk.

Download Suffolk Maternity Health Needs Assessment (PDF, 1MB).

The main objectives of this needs assessment were to identify the health needs of women before, during and after pregnancy and to assess the implementation of the new PbR Tariff maternity pathway to ensure it is working well in Suffolk.

Download Suffolk: Young People’s Substance Misuse Needs Assessment (PDF, 332KB).

This needs assessment examines the needs of young people aged less than 18 years residing in Suffolk and who access specialist substance misuse treatment services.

Download Suffolk: Adult Substance Misuse Needs Assessment (PDF, 237KB).

This adult substance misuse needs assessment examines evidence provided by Public Health England (PHE) on Suffolk residents who engage in adult substance misuse treatment.