NHS managers will be expected to produce 'health and well-being investment plans' in a bid to rid Northern Ireland of some of the highest mortality and morbidity rates in the world, health minister Bairbre de Brun has announced.

A consultation document, published by the ministerial group on public health last week, shows that Northern Ireland has one of the highest death rates from heart disease in the world - twice the European average - and the lowest uptake of cervical cancer screening in Europe.

The report shows that average life expectancy is up to three years lower than for many other countries.

Ms de Brun says each of the four health boards must establish local 'investing for health partnerships' which will draw together key statutory bodies, including health trusts, primary care and health and social services councils.

Primary and community care staff will also be asked to 'engage' with local communities to identify needs and 'produce local solutions for local problems'.

The consultation document also sets out priority areas for investment: smoking cessation, physical activity, nutrition, alcohol and drug misuse, mental health, sexual health; and accident prevention.