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Duncan Selbie's Friday message - 25 May 2018

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Dear everyone

On Tuesday, we published our first independent assessment of how far the food and drinks industry has gone towards meeting the initial 5% sugar reduction challenge set out in the 2016 Childhood Obesity Plan. This is the most comprehensive analysis of its kind and has shown an encouraging start, but with obviously much more to do. Find out more in the report and our blog. The Public Health and Primary Care Minister, Steve Brine MP, has confirmed that there will be a chapter two of the 2016 Plan coming soon, which will be a further big step forward in tackling what is one of the highest public health priorities for everyone in Government, industry, and for the public themselves.

Type 2 diabetes affects 3.8 million people in England, with a further 5 million at high risk. This condition gives rise to complications such as cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure and amputations, and accounts for 9% of the annual NHS budget at around £9 billion a year. Our latest edition of Health Matters, published yesterday, focuses on Type 2 diabetes and what can be done to prevent it. You can see the full edition here and read more in our blog.

Also on Tuesday, the Government published its draft Clean Air Strategy for consultation and alongside this, PHE published new evidence highlighting the costs of exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide to the NHS and wider care system. Developed with the UK Health Forum and Imperial College London, the report and modelling tool can be used by local authorities to estimate the local impact of air pollution to inform future policy and spending decisions. Read the full report and our blog to find out more.

There are about 200,000 children living with an alcohol dependent parent in England, always with consequences for their childhood and sometimes devastating. To improve the support for these children and their parents, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Work and Pensions have created a £4.5 million fund over three years to be available for local government to bid against. This new fund, to be managed by PHE, is an opportunity for local services to get help faster and more effectively to the most vulnerable children and we hope to receive a range of creative applications. Find out more here.

England’s Industrial Strategy is a public health strategy, which at its heart is about creating jobs in places, particularly in the north, that have not enjoyed the growth of London and the South East, and in doing all possible for local people to get those jobs. The Prime Minister this week, speaking of the Grand Challenges set out in the Industrial Strategy, committed to closing the gap in the years of life in good health between the affluent and the poor and ensuring that people can enjoy five more healthy years by 2035. This is a most energising ambition that all of us have a part to play in. Being in work is a health outcome and keeping well and in work for longer is an imperative, not only for good health but for our economy, and supporting this is one of our topmost priorities for the coming years.

And finally, I warmly congratulate Gateshead Council and Alice Wiseman, their Director of Public Health, for winning the Association of Directors of Public Health’s annual award for the best annual report. Their report explores how inequalities are experienced through the eyes of local people and provides a platform for people whose voices are often not heard. This excellent report was well deserving of this national recognition.

With best wishes,

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