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The Importance of Health and Health Improvement

Health is fundamental to the well-being both of individuals and society. Understanding ill health and its distribution is the first step to planning effective interventions to improve health and to prevent ill health.

There are many ways to promote, improve and sustain health, many of which lie outside the health sector. The circumstances in which people grow, live, work, and age strongly influence how people live and die.

Enabling people to choose healthy lifestyles, and to access appropriate health services, also contributes to improved and less unequal population health outcomes.

Good evidence is essential in understanding situations and making informed decisions. These pages have been developed in association with the Public Health Intelligence Team. For more information on the Public Health Intelligence Team please see the 'Sources of data and intelligence – Local.'

Understanding Health Data

The health of the population can be measured in many ways. However, life expectancy is generally understood to give a useful overall measure of health. When looking at specific conditions there are a number of indicators which are measured, these include:

  • Mortality rates
  • Incidence/Prevalence
  • Hospital Admissions

Data is also available on risk factors such as the rate of smoking and on the results of some interventions such as the rate of immunisations.

Determinants such as income, education, housing, food, transport, and access to social networks, can all impact on health, and often in unequal ways. Addressing such health determinants, and their inequalities, improves health outcomes and reduces health inequalities within and between communities. Information on many of these determinants can be found on other LRO Theme Pages.

Sources of Data and Intelligence - National

Public Health England has recently developed a knowledge and information gateway which provides a single point of access to data and analysis at a national level. The gateway is broken down into sub categories which you can link to different areas you may be interested in such as ‘health inequalities’ and ‘mental health’. Below is a list of the key national intelligence networks and data sources that can be accessed through this portal:

  • National Cancer Intelligence Network is a UK-wide initiative, working to drive improvements in standards of cancer care and clinical outcomes by improving and using the information collected about cancer patients for analysis, publication and research.
  • National End of Life Care Intelligence Network aims to improve the collection and analysis of information related to the quality, volume and costs of care provided by the NHS, social services and the third sector to adults approaching the end of life. This intelligence will help drive improvements in the quality and productivity of services.
  • Child & Maternal Health Intelligence Network that provides information and intelligence to improve decision-making for high quality, cost effective services. Our work supports policy makers, commissioners, managers, regulators, and other health stakeholders working on children's, young people's and maternal health.
  • Local Alcohol & Tobacco Control Profiles for England provide a snapshot of the extent of tobacco use, tobacco related harm, and measures being taken to reduce this harm at a local level.
  • Health Profiles for England provide summary health information to support local authority members, officers and community partners to lead for health improvement.
  • Public Health Outcomes Framework is a tool that currently presents data for available indicators at England and upper tier local authority levels, collated by Public Health England.

Health & Social Care Information Centre provide national information and information technology (IT) systems to health and social care organisations so they can provide better services and improve health standards. This includes presenting data in a way that can be easily understood, providing systems that make it easier to access and use the data, and setting IT and information standards. They are a trusted source of data and information, which means patient details are protected.

Sources of Data and Intelligence - Local

The Lincolnshire Research Observatory holds a wide range of data from numerous sources. A selection of the most useful health related data can be viewed at the bottom of this page. To access all our data visit the interactive mapping and data analysis tool.

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment

The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) sets out the overarching Health and Well-being priorities for Lincolnshire. The JSNA is hosted on the LRO where you can see the overview report which outlines the priorities, commentaries on individual topics together with the evidence supporting the assessment. There is also a toolkit which allows you to explore and map data.

Joint Health and Well-being Strategy

The Joint Health and Well-being Strategy (JHWS) is a strategy built on the findings of the JSNA that aims to inform and influence decisions about health and social care services in Lincolnshire. It is focused on the needs of the people who use them and tackles the factors that affects everyone's health and well-being.

Annual Report

The Annual Report is written by the Director of Public Health for Lincolnshire. It outlines some of the main health issues and health inequalities within the county. From this clear recommendations are given which are fed into the JSNA Health and Well-being priorities.

Health Needs Assessments

A Health Needs Assessment (HNA) brings together different agencies and people and takes an in depth look at the health needs of either a particualr group of people or a health related topic. The assessment will make recommendations about what could be done to make things better. It is vital that recommendations from HNAs are reviewed routinely.

The subjects that are looked at in detail by a HNA can inform the JSNA. However, a JSNA can also identify a topic for a HNA. This is because the JSNA identifies needs, priorities and possible gaps in the services provided, but may not have the detail needed to make an effective decision. The findings of a HNA will inform and form the basis of the JSNA topic summary published the following year.

A full list of the current and in progress HNAs can be found on the HNAs page.

Public Health Intelligence Team - Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolnshire County Council have a Public Health Intelligence Team whose primary aim is to provide health intelligence to professionals and organisations in Lincolnshire. Work completed by the team will be shared via the LRO.

Lincolnshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are NHS organisations set up by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 that organise the delivery of NHS services in England. They have replaced primary care trusts (PCT's). CCGs are overseen by NHS England, (including its Regional Offices and Area Teams). These structures manage primary care commissioning, including holding the NHS Contracts for GP practices. A detailed description of the new NHS structure is available on NHS Choices.

In Lincolnshire there are four NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) of General Practices. Working with the NHS Commissioning Board the four local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups commission healthcare services, and work to improve health services and reduce health inequalities.

The four Lincolnshire CCG's are Lincolnshire East, Lincolnshire West, South Lincolnshire, South West Lincolnshire and they all have their own websites.

Wherever data can be shown at these new geographies the LRO will do so. For instance the data from the 2011 Census is available at CCG level.The LRO also has an area profile for contextual data which can be viewed for each CCG and localities where CCGs are subdivided in into smaller units.

The Lincolnshire County Council Public Health Information Team have produced profiles for each CCG. The profiles provide an overview of the health of the population living in the area covered by each CCG. They contain information on the key demographics and health problems in the area.

The following Local Health profiles created by the Lincolnshire County Council Public Health Intelligence team use data available at ward level from the Public Health England Local Health tool , in some cases best-fitted where needed to CCG and Locality areas.

There are also CCG Practice Profiles produced by Public Health England.

Other resources for CCGs include:


Joint Strategic Needs Assessment
Interactive Online Report available on the LRO


Delayed Transfer of Care Report

Annual Report of the Director of Public Health for Lincolnshire

Health and Unpaid Care - Analysis of Census 2011 Results

Health Profiles

Health Profiles for Lincolnshire and Districts are published annually by Public Health England (PHE).  These aim to support actions to improve health and address health inequalities.

PHE - Health Profiles

Health Profiles are also available for CCGs and Wards on the PHE Local Health site - click on Find My Area, then Choose an Area:

PHE - Local Health




East Lindsey


North Kesteven

South Holland

South Kesteven

West Lindsey

Clinical Commissioning Groups

Lincolnshire East

Lincolnshire West

South Lincolnshire

South West Lincolnshire

Local Health CCG and Locality profiles

Lincolnshire East CCG and Localities

Lincolnshire West CCG and Localities

South Lincolnshire CCG and Localities

South West Lincolnshire CCG


See the main health indicators at the bottom of this page

Interactive mapping and data analysis

Public Health Outcomes Framework Data Tool

More Information

Area Profiles