THE health and wealth of the East could be set for a boost following the announcement of a partnership between NHS East of England and the East of England Development Agency (EEDA). The agreement enables the two organisations to work closer on priorities which will shape the region's health and economy over the next decade. NHS East of England and EEDA will meet quarterly, and participate in the formation of future economic strategy in the region. They have identified five priority areas which could benefit business and communities in the East: getting people back into work after illness; fostering innovation and technology in healthcare; researching the links between health and productivity; developing a sustainability plan; and developing regional intelligence based on the links between health and the economy. EEDA chair Richard Ellis said: "There is a critical link between the health of the workforce and a successful regional economy. The agreement will mean we will be able to develop enhanced and comprehensive evidence that will tell us where our joint investments deliver the most economic benefit to the region. Karen Livingstone, director of strategic partnerships at NHS East of England, said: "We aim to achieve a strong and successful regional economy that harnesses the talents of everyone in the region. Both NHS East of England and EEDA recognise that there is more that can be achieved through even closer collaboration and in particular addressing joint key health issues that impact on our communities and businesses. "We will ensure that these commitments will be delivered by working with EEDA to establish a regional structure where health and inequality can be addressed with our partners across the region.