Better health within reach – Professor Dame Sally Davies's tenth report as Chief Medical Officer – considers what the state of the public’s health in England in 2040 could look like.

The Health Foundation was invited to author a chapter setting out a vision for the creating healthy local environments by 2040. In the chapter we make the case that:

  • Viewing people’s health as the primary asset for our nation would revolutionise the way decisions are made at national and local levels, putting health and wellbeing at the heart of all policy.
  • The environment people live in has an enormous impact on their health. Large numbers of people are currently exposed to sub‑optimal conditions, which means there is enormous potential to improve health through creating better environments.
  • Creating healthy local environments can only be done within an overarching, national context which encourages health creation as a goal of equal importance to wealth creation.
  • Three fundamental changes in thinking and practice are required at the national level, including expanding our view of health, expanding our view of success and expanding our view of how to intervene to produce health outcomes.
  • Local government has a pivotal role to play in creating healthy local environments.

Cite this publication

Elwell-Sutton T, Marshall L, Finch D, Bibby J, 'The local health environment: health Foundation chapter in the Chief Medical Officer annual report 2018'. Health Foundation; 2018 (https://www.health.org.uk/publications/reports/the-local-health-environment)

Further reading

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Taking our health for granted

October 2018
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This briefing paper assesses the extent of cuts to the public health grant since 2014/15 and...

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The nation's health as an asset

November 2018
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A briefing that asks: what is the social and economic value of maintaining and improving people's...

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