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Duncan Selbie's Friday message - 1 December 2017

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Dear everyone

On Monday the Government published its Industrial Strategy, which commits to creating a “stronger, fairer economy” that works for everyone. The strategy is not seeking more equal economic growth at any cost and highlights the importance of clean growth and good quality work. It also recognises the positive impact that good health has on the economy; when we are healthy, we are more productive.  Everything of course hangs on prosperity reaching those people and places where jobs have not been as available as in the south east, and its success will be in economic growth and prosperity reaching every part of England.

Also on work and health this week, ‘Improving Lives: The Future of Work, Health and Disability’ was published by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). We were closely involved in this, which sets out the Government response to the Green paper consultation launched last year as well as aspects of the Thriving at Work and the Good Work reports. You can read more on this in our blog.

Kellogg’s UK announced yesterday that they will be making significant sugar reductions in their most iconic cereals which are most commonly consumed by our children, and their industry leadership will provide encouragement for others. Having the evidence is important but not sufficient and only becomes relevant when action is taken. As a public health family we should take great comfort in seeing our evidence on sugar - and on the link between work and health - leading to practical action.

Also this week PHE and the Office for National Statistics jointly released cancer survival rates by clinical commissioning group. Encouragingly, the rate of one year all-cancer survival in England is increasing and the inequality gap slowly closing. For example, one-year breast cancer survival increased from 92.8% in 2000 to 96.7% in 2015. The full data set can be found here.

Today is World AIDS Day and this year we have some excellent progress to reflect on. In London, all global United Nations AIDS 90:90:90 targets have been met - 90% of people living with HIV infection diagnosed, 97% of people diagnosed receiving treatment and 97% of those receiving treatment virally suppressed. We have also seen a 21% decline in new HIV diagnoses and a 25% decline in the number of people diagnosed with AIDS between 2015 and 2016. These are improvements to be proud of and are testament to the work of many in the NHS, third sector and local government.

And finally, Ipsos MORI have completed a further survey of the public’s views on their top health concerns. Cancer remains the number one concern but perhaps more interestingly, mental health has shot up to become the second biggest concern for people and this chimes very much with the NHS Five Year Forward View and our own responsibilities for public mental health. Pleasingly, the results show that the public’s confidence in health advice given by PHE is now at an all-time high and is up 6% on last year.

With best wishes,





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

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