Who We Are

The South West Public Health Observatory has become part of Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health.

Public Health England has been established to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing and to reduce inequalities. It will lead on the development of a 21st-century health and wellbeing service, supporting local authorities and the NHS to deliver the greatest possible improvements in public health. It came into being in April 2013. For all corporate information please see www.gov.uk/phe

This is historic archive, please see the Public Health England website.

The South West Public Health Observatory (SWPHO) is an NHS organisation created in 2005 as a result of a merger between the existing Public Health Observatory (Public Health Intelligence Team (PHIT)) and the South West Cancer Intelligence Service (SWCIS). It incorporates the Drug Treatment Monitoring System of the South West (NDTMS).

What we aim to do:
  • make it easier to access data and information about public health in the region
  • provide support and help to people wanting to use such information in appropriate ways
  • provide analysis in order to improve our understanding of health, and the factors which influence health, within the region.

For more general information about Public Health Observatories and what they do, see The Core Role and Functions of Public Health Observatories.

For the latest news, see also our quarterly newsletter, SWPHOcus.

Geographical area covered

The geographical area covered by the SWPHO includes Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Isles of Scilly - the same as the South West Government Office Region - with a population of 5 million and, in the case of the South West Cancer Intelligence Service, includes Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, giving a total population coverage of 6.6 million.

Geographical area covered by the SWPHO

About Public Health Observatories

Public Health Observatories were officially launched by the Chief Medical Officer on 15th February 2000 to support the Government's strategy for improving health and reducing health inequalities, as set out in the Saving lives: Our Healthier Nation

There are 12 Public Health Observatories (PHOs) working across the five nations of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The nine Public Health Observatories in England work together through a single work programme which contains both national and local elements. We produce information, data and intelligence on people's health and health care for practitioners, policy makers and the wider community. Our expertise lies in turning information and data into meaningful health intelligence to support decision-makers.

On behalf of the Department of Health, the SWPHO works in partnership with the NHS, local authorities, researchers, national agencies as well as agencies in the South West, such as the South West Observatory, Department of Health South West and Health Protection Agency South West. The SWPHO's national lead areas are sexual health and injuries. The SWPHO is currently hosted by Southampton University Hospitals Trust and NHS Bristol.