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Supporting London’s journey to becoming the healthiest global city

Supporting London's journey to becoming the healthiest global city

Blog by Vicky Hobart, GLA Group’s Director of Public Health and Deputy Statutory Health Adviser

Nobody’s health should suffer because of who they are or where they live. That’s the founding principle of the London health inequalities strategy, and the cornerstone of the new Greater London Authority (GLA) Group Public Health Unit. Right now, people in London are living with preventable disease and disability, and sometimes dying far earlier than they should, because they don’t have the things they need for good health.

With the release of the Regional Health Profile for London (2021), we now have data that confirms what many have suspected over the last two years – that the pandemic has widened and exacerbated existing health inequalities. And, what is ever more clear, is that meeting the scale of challenges that lay ahead will require working in in new ways and in cross-sector partnerships.

The creation of this Unit is the result of a year-long collaboration, looking at how to provide public health advice and support to best effect across the GLA Group, for the benefit of Londoners. As the GLA Group’s Director of Public Health and Deputy Statutory Health Adviser, I lead the Unit in strengthening public health collaboration within and across the GLA and other organisations within the GLA Group : Transport for London (TfL), Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), London Fire Commissioner (LFC) and Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC).

Building on learning from the COVID pandemic response and by working as a shared service across the GLA Group, the unit has great potential to embed health across a wide range of policy areas. We will be focused on improving the health of Londoners – keeping people safe, preventing poor health and tackling health inequalities. We will do this by focusing on the social, economic and environmental conditions that we know have big impacts on people’s health – like tackling poor air quality, reducing violence and ensuring that health outcomes are at the heart of how we plan our built environment.

The Unit will work closely with Professor Kevin Fenton and his team at the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, and as part of the wider public health system in London. We will also continue to align seamlessly with the GLA’s Health and Wellbeing Team based in the Health, Children and Young Londoner’s Unit, to support the Mayor’s voice on health.

Public health is, at its heart, about equity and prevention. It’s about creating a London where everyone has access to the building blocks of good health. A London where everyone can thrive. 

A big thank you to my GLA Group colleagues for making our Unit so welcome. I look forward to this new collaboration and helping us play our part in full in achieving the vision for London as the healthiest global city.

If you would like to find out more about the work we do, contact: [email protected]

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