NHS North East has pledged to renew its focus on public health and long-term conditions in its regional Darzi review.

Launched today, it says the region has the country's best rated hospitals, maternity services and heart failure treatment services.

But it adds that it has the worst health in Britain, with life expectancy 12 years behind the average and the highest rate of hospital use. This limits the resources available for preventive measures and support for people with long-term conditions, it says.

Short-term changes for the next two to three years include:

  • personal health and well-being plans for everyone deemed at risk of suffering from ill-health;
  • training for all NHS staff in basic public health measures;
  • better and quicker access to mental health services;
  • piloting a single contact telephone number for urgent health and social care needs.

Chief executive Ian Dalton said: "We will ensure that NHS North East is in the best possible place to provide healthcare and is up there with the best in the world.

"People in the region have a right to access high quality, convenient, effective and safe healthcare, whether that is provided in the community or in hospital, and we intend to make sure that they get what they are entitled to."