The Department of Health (DH) asked NICE to produce public health guidance on what works in driving down population mortality rates in disadvantaged areas, where risk of early death is higher than average, with particular reference to proactive case finding and retention and access to services.

The recommendations have been developed for smoking cessation services and the provision of statins. Although the referral specified a focus on people in disadvantaged areas, the recommendations are relevant for all those who are disadvantaged, regardless of where they live.

The guidance is for NHS and other professionals who have a direct or indirect role in, and responsibility for, services aimed at people who are disadvantaged. This includes those working in local authorities and the wider public, voluntary and community sectors. It may also be of interest to members of the public.

NICE guidance on community engagement, behaviour change, smoking cessation, statins and lipid modification complements and supports this guidance.

The Public Health Interventions Advisory Committee (PHIAC) has considered the reviews of the evidence, a mapping review, an economic appraisal, stakeholder comments and the results of fieldwork in developing these recommendations.

Details of PHIAC membership are given in appendix A. The methods used to develop the guidance are summarised in appendix B. Supporting documents used in the preparation of this document are listed in appendix E. Full details of the evidence collated, including fieldwork data and activities and stakeholder comments, are available on the NICE website, along with a list of the stakeholders involved and the supporting process and methods manuals.