About public health intelligence

Public Health Intelligence is a core function of the South West Public Health Observatory, as it was prior to the merger with the South West Cancer Intelligence Service in 2005.

Public Health is concerned with the wider determinants of health - the behavioural or environmental factors that affect people's health. Key areas of concern, as outlined in the Government's White Paper, Choosing Health: making healthier choices easier, are:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Physical exercise
  • Sexual health
  • Alcohol
  • Mental health
  • Health inequalities

The role of the Public Health Intelligence Team (PHIT) is to support local bodies by:

  • monitoring health and disease trends and highlighting areas for action
  • identifying gaps in health information
  • advising on methods for health and health inequality impact assessment
  • drawing together information from different sources in new ways to improve health
  • carrying out projects to highlight particular health issues
  • evaluating progress by local agencies on improving health and cutting inequality
  • looking ahead to give early warning of future public health problems