Public Health and Wellbeing

What we do

The Public Health team collects and process personal information about you in order to provide public services and meet the Council's statutory obligations. Since April 2013 the Health and Social Care Act 2012 has given local authorities the power to perform public health functions.

All local authorities have a duty to protect and improve the health of the population they serve. They are also required to commission and manage public health services for their population. The Public Health team works closely with local NHS services.

The specific functions for which Public Health is responsible include:

  • control of infection
  • managements of risks to public health
  • sexual health services
  • public health advice service
  • administering the National Child Measurement Programme in Greenwich (including the weighing and measuring of children attending Greenwich schools)
  • organising and administering health check assessments under the NHS Health Check Programme
  • organising and supporting the 0-5 health service (health visiting) and school nursing services.
Why we need your information and how we use it

The Public Health team uses information about residents and users of health care, to enable it to protect the health of the local population, to carry out required duties, to plan health care and services in the future and to provide services that you have requested.

The team uses data and information from a range of sources, to understand more about the health and care needs in the area. The data used by public health services might relate to the health programmes that we commission and provide in the local community. We also use data collected at the registration of a birth or death, as well as national hospital activity data which we receive under licence from NHS Digital.

The team collects and holds information for public health purposes about:

  • residents of the Royal Borough of Greenwich
  • people receiving health and care services in the Royal Borough of Greenwich
  • people who work or attend school in the Royal Borough of Greenwich
  • all those people to whom it has a public health duty of care.
What type of information we collect

Public health data can contain person identifiable data (PID) which may identify patients such as name, address, age, sex, ethnicity, disease, use of hospital services, and/or NHS Number.

Personal identifiable data relates to a living individual who can be identified from the data or from that data and other information held by the data controller (for example if it were linked to other data sources to become identifiable). Some data may not be obviously identifiable however, there may be the potential to deduce individuals' identities through combinations of information, either by the people handling the data or by those who see published results.

This information is collected in two main ways:

1. It may be provided to us directly by a member of the public when they sign up to use a service that we provide. When contacting us, you may be asked for personal information such as name, address, postcode etc. Information may be collected, for example:

  • to fulfil your request for information or services
  • as input to improve a service
  • as input to improve a website
  • as part of the process of consultation

This might be collected in person, over the phone or via forms on our website.

2. It might be shared with us by another organisation due to us being part of a service they are providing, or as part of research and intelligence necessary for public health functions, such as informing decisions on the design and commissioning of services. This will include organisations such as Office for National Statistics, NHS Digital, national and local NHS bodies and Clinical Commissioning Group, Local Authorities and schools.

The Public Health team also uses the information to derive statistics and intelligence for research and planning purposes, which include:

  • producing assessments of the health and care needs of the population, in particular to support the statutory responsibilities of the:
    • Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA)
    • Director of Public Health Annual report
    • Health and Wellbeing Strategy
  • identifying priorities for action
  • informing decisions on (for example) the design and commissioning of services
  • to assess the performance of the local health and care system and to evaluate and develop them
  • to report summary statistics to national organisations
  • undertaking equity analysis of trends, particularly for vulnerable groups
  • to support clinical audits

In these cases, the information is used in such a way that individuals cannot be identified from them and personal identifiable details are removed as soon as is possible in the processing of intelligence.

This information may contain:

  • contact details
  • NHS number
  • geographic codes such as postcodes for the analysis of health inequalities
  • date of birth
  • information from birth and death certifications (personal identifiable information from NHS Digital used for public health purposes)
  • information about the provision of public health services including:
    • immunisations
    • control of infection
    • drug and alcohol treatment services
    • sexual health services
    • 0-5 health services
    • school nursing services
    • National Child Measurement Programme
    • lifestyle and behaviour change services
    • cancer screening
    • other screening programmes
    • public health initiatives
  • information about lifestyle behaviours, including data collected from surveys
  • information about disease prevalence including cancer registrations
  • Information about other health statuses including blood pressure
  • Information about health and social care use, including:
    • GP services
    • Hospital services
    • NHS community services
    • Mental health services
    • Social care services

In particular, we currently access health information from ONS and NHS Digital including:

  • Primary Care Mortality Database (PCMD) - The PCMD holds mortality data as provided at the time of registration of the death along with name of GP, geographical indexing and coroner details where applicable. The PCMD database does not contain names of the deceased
  • Public Health Birth Files (PHBF) - include date of birth, sex, birthweight, address, postcode, place of birth, stillbirth indicators and age of mother. They contain the NHS number of the infant registered
  • ONS Vital Statistics datasets -
    • Statistical tables based on PHBF relating to, for example, age group of mothers, low birth weight, mothers ward of residence, number of stillbirths
    • Statistical tables based on PCMD containing numbers of deaths broken down by age and sex, ward of residence at death, by cause of death (for example, breast cancer)
    • Statistical tables containing counts of conceptions per ward of residence for all women, and those aged less than 18.
  • Hospital Episode Data (HES) - is extracted from a data warehouse containing details of all admissions, outpatient appointments and A and E attendances at NHS hospitals in England. This data is collected during a patient's time at hospital to support their clinical care and to allow hospitals to be paid for the care they deliver. HES data is extracted to enable secondary use, that is use for non-clinical health purposes. HES data is pseudonymised which means that all items such as name, date of birth, and postcode have been removed.
Who we may share your information with

Confidential public health data will only be shared with appropriate organisations such as the NHS, local authorities or care organisations once the necessary legal basis has been established and data protection safeguards have been verified, so that the data is managed and used under the same restrictions.

Anyone who receives information from the Public Health team is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential. Any personal identifiable data is sent or received in a secure form for example via secure email systems such as

We will not give or sell your information to any third party for marketing purposes unless we have gained your permission to do so.

NHS Digital provides Public Health with ONS births and deaths registration data as well as hospital activity data. This data is received under licence and can only be accessed and processed by specific named employees in fulfilment of their public health function.

The data provided by NHS Digital cannot be transferred, shared, or otherwise made available to any third party, including other staff within Royal Greenwich, except in the form of non-identifiable statistics.

The Public Health team uses pseudonymised or anonymised information as much as is practical. Pseudonymisation is a procedure by which the most identifying fields within a data record are replaced by one or more artificial identifiers, or pseudonyms. There can be a single pseudonym for a collection of replaced fields or a pseudonym per replaced field.

The purpose is to render the data record less identifying. Anonymisation is the process of removing identifying particulars or details from (something, especially medical test results) for statistical or other purposes.

How long we keep your information

We only keep hold of information for as long as is necessary. This will depend on what the specific information is and the agreed period of time.

Data is permanently disposed of after this period, in line with Royal Borough of Greenwich Corporate Memory Protocol and/or the NHS Retention Policy or the specific requirements of the organisation who has shared the data with us.

Version date
June 2019