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Duncan Selbie's Friday message - 8 September 2017

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Dear everyone

Having a good boss is good for your health. Having a poor boss is the most common reason people leave a job and is more important to most people than levels of pay and exacting work. Being valued by your colleagues and your immediate manager is what matters the most and is where the most effective organisations concentrate their efforts. While sensible structures and good processes are important, it is people and relationships that truly matter. Knowing, for example, how to have a difficult conversation in a positive way and how to give and receive feedback does not come naturally to everyone, so training managers in these skills is a valuable investment. Over the past 18 months, PHE has provided training for more than 1600 people who are responsible for others and this will continue.

Knowing how we are doing and how we can do better is why the staff survey is so important. For PHE this will run through October and I encourage everyone to get involved. An organisation can have the best strategy and business plan, but if you don’t have your people with you, you have nothing.

England has seen huge improvements over the past decade in preventing early, avoidable death from cardiovascular disease. Notwithstanding this, today around 6 million people are affected by cardiovascular disease, much of this avoidable, and with NHS England and the British Heart Foundation, we are working together to refresh our approach. This week we published new analysis from our Heart Age Test, and the data shows that 1 in 10 men aged 50 have a heart age 10 years older than they are. People who are age 30 or over can use the tool to not only get a result but to get referred to apps, advice and resources to help them improve not only heart health, but their general health and wellbeing. The tool takes only around three minutes to complete, so please do have a go.

Living close to green, open space is another factor well evidenced to be good for your health and 50% of people in England live within an hour’s travel of a National Park. These are free, open 24 hours a day and are a place the public can go to enjoy natural beauty and time outdoors. Today PHE signed an accord with National Parks England, marked by an event with Steve Brine MP, Minister for Public Health and Primary Care, in the South Downs national park, which will see more proactive and practical work between our two organisations to make the most of these opportunities.

Every day hundreds of people present to the NHS following exposure to a drug or chemical that can be due to accidental exposure to a substance, drug dosing errors, drug misuse, drug overdose or environmental or occupational exposures. The National Poisons Information service, commissioned by PHE, provides healthcare professionals with evidence-based information so they can manage each case appropriately. This week the poisons service published its annual report, which lays out the ways the service is used, who by and the impact it has. Please do have a look, it is an interesting read.

And finally, we have published three blogs ahead of our annual conference which is taking place next week. This year the conference focuses on three key themes: addressing health inequalities, promoting world leading science and making the economic case for prevention. We have more than 1500 people attending over the two days and we look forward to a productive and enjoyable conference.

With best wishes,





Friday messages from 2012-2016 are available on GOV.UK

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