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Better health for the region; ..ENHD: Better health for the region.

This month's edition of Passionate About Employment is sponsored by a new partner, Public Health North East, whose ambitious plans to transform the health of the North East can be found in the region's first-ever health and wellbeing strategy.: LET'S START IN THE WORKPLACE The wide ranging proposals contained in Better Health, Fairer Health, launched just over a year ago, aim to make people living here the healthiest in the country within a generation.

The first edition of the strategy identifies priorities across 10 key themes, but recognises the need for continuing work. These themes are: .. Economy, culture and environment .. Prevention, fair and early treatment .. Mental health, happiness and wellbeing .. Early life .. Tobacco .. Obesity, diet and physical activity .. Alcohol .. Mature and working life .. Later life .. A "good" death.

Stephen Singleton, regional director of Public Health North East, believes improving the lot of workers could make a significant contribution to improving the region's health.

He says: "An advisory group has already been established which includes representatives of the regional development agency, trade unions and chambers of commerce working in a number of areas.

These include: .. Research designed to develop a strategic model for workplace health .. Helping the NHS become an exemplar employer in recruiting people who are out of work (more about this further on in the supplement) .. Supporting five partnerships bidding to become Fit for Work pilots as part of a pounds 13m Department of Health initiative.

"Since most of us spend a great deal of our time in the work place, this makes it one of the most important places for advice and help about healthier lifestyles - so improving health in the workplace is fundamental to our approach..

"Encouraging good health is good for business because it improves staff morale as well as saving money through reduced costs and improved productivity.

"Quite simply, a motivated, healthy workforce is more likely to perform to a higher level than one which is not... and the financial burden of recruitment, retraining and sickness absence is reduced too.

"As part of our Better Health, Fairer Health strategy, our work to develop a coherent approach to promoting and supporting health and wellbeing in the workplace is well underway.

"We have already produced a guide called Better Health at Work, which is free to employers throughout the North East. It includes simple tips about improving the health of employees which could result in benefits to business, the economy of the region and the quality of life of those who live here.

"More and more employers are taking a proactive stance, implementing wellbeing strategies - and seeing positive results - rather than just managing those who are sick. We are keen to encourage this trend further and that's one of the reasons we sponsored a major regional employer of the year award earlier this year. In our regional strategy we also pledged to: .. Support research into the most effective approaches to combating worklessness .. Develop regional policies for appropriate and full access to benefits for those in need .. Develop policies to support and sustain health and wellbeing during transitions to and from work "If we succeed in our aims, everyone will benefit - workers, employers and the regional economy."

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STEPHEN SINGLETON, REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH NORTH EAST.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 23, 2009
Words:540
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