Our work to prevent ill health, brings together organisations in health and care to take actions that benefit local people’s health and wellbeing in a wide variety of settings across east London.

The overarching NHS and public health plan, focuses on building an NHS fit for the future. But the plan only works now, and in the future, if we all share a commitment to help:

  • everyone to get the best start in life
  • communities live well
  • people to age well

Our current priorities are to:

  • support people to stop smoking and prevent young people from starting to use tobacco in the first place
  • increase the number of people who are screened earlier 
  • prevent diabetes, and improve outcomes for people who have the condition helping them to receive earlier treatment.

We have identified the priorities that will have the greatest impact on preventing ill health.

Helping people to stop smoking

Smoking rates have fallen significantly, but smoking still accounts for more years of life lost than any other modifiable risk factor. Around 6.1 million people in England still smoke.

Smokers see their GP over a third more often than non-smokers, and smoking is linked to nearly half a million hospital admissions each year.
Current estimates are also that nearly a quarter of women in the UK smoke during pregnancy. We're working closely with the Maternity workstream, to ensure that maximum support is offered to reduce smoking amongst pregnant women.

Diabetes treatment and prevention

In the UK, 500 diabetics die each week, many from 'avoidable' complications, that's roughly 10 per cent over the past three years.

People between the ages of 35 and 64 living with type 1 diabetes ,are three to four times more likely to die prematurely than those without the condition. Those in the same age range who have type 2 diabetes are up to two times more likely to die prematurely.

We know that many cases of Type 2 diabetes are preventable. There is strong international evidence that for those people at higher risk of becoming diabetes, taking action to lose weight, eat a healthier diet, and doing more exercise - can significantly reduce the risk of developing the condition.


Nationally, the aim is to significantly improve and increase the screening processes to identify risk to health at a much earlier stage. In east London, we're improving our Bowel Cancer Screening programme to detect more cancers earlier by lowering the starting age for screening from 60 to 50.

We'll introduce screening for cervical cancer across east London by 2020, and over the next two years, extend the lung health checks that have already produced strong results in Liverpool and Manchester, to all boroughs. Patients will have a breath test and a discussion to assess their individual lung cancer risk.

From 2019, we'll have more mobile lung CT scanners – taking the support to people in supermarket car parks – starting in parts of east London with the lowest lung cancer survival rates. This will help us to find more cancers quickly and pick-up a range of other health conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and help reduce inequalities in cancer outcomes.

For fast growing cancers, we will work towards reducing the time between referral and treatment. For every person with suspected cancer, shortening the anxious wait between suspicion and exclusion or confirmation of cancer means a far better experience of care.

Updated: 02/04/2019