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Duncan Selbie's Friday message - 10 May 2019

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Dear everyone

I spent Wednesday morning in the North West with the fabulous team in St Helens, where well before the concept was included in the NHS Long Term Plan, they had enacted integrated, place based working simply because this was the right thing to do. People are at the centre of all services here, with the clinical accountable officer for the CCG also the Council strategic director for people. This brings together NHS commissioning with children’s and adult social care, public health and educational improvement and they have realised that by leaving organisational self-interest at the door, they can work together to win together.

Good leadership knows that the failure of any one service would pull the others down, and in St Helens they are safeguarding against this. They have an intensely proud past in mining and glass and while their health profile reflects the loss of these industries, they are creating a new narrative and are seeing steady improvement in a number of health indicators and major new investments in jobs and homes. This is exactly the joined up, future proofing and smart working we need to encourage and support everywhere and a big well done to them for showing the way.

Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) do critically important work for the NHS, and across local government, education, housing, criminal justice and the private sector. With 14 professional groups in their ranks from paramedics to art therapists, they make for the third biggest combined workforce in the NHS, covering all clinical specialities and last week, the first ever UK wide public health strategic framework for AHPs was published. All four UK nations have worked together to produce this and it emphasises action to address health inequalities and the wider determinants of health, areas AHPs have confidently worked on for many years.

The latest update to the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) has now gone live, covering data for 20 indicators. The PHOF focuses on how long people live, and how well they live at each stage of life and this update, for example, includes data on obesity which show that the percentage of adults classified as overweight or obese in 2018 has increased to 62%, up from 61.3% the previous year and that preventable sight loss has improved, particularly for cases caused by age-related macular degeneration. You can read more in our blog.

People who sleep rough die on average 30 years younger than the general population and the Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy aims to halve homelessness by 2022 and end it by 2027. Many of those experiencing rough sleeping have significant substance misuse and mental health needs and there is evidence that they face challenges and barriers in accessing health services. PHE is allocating £1.9 million funding from the Department of Health and Social Care to partnerships between local authorities and CCGs to test models that help to improve access to health services for people experiencing these problems. You can also find out more about the requirements for the funding and how to apply here.

Poor air quality is a public health emergency and tackling this will require a range of interventions. Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock MP has today commissioned PHE to refresh the assessment of the impact of polluted air on the UK’s health by modelling how many cases of disease the Clean Air Strategy could prevent and where more attention could be needed. As he has rightly said, our health is unavoidably shaped by the environment we live in and the recent Clean Air Strategy, underpinned by PHE’s 2018 evidence review, sets out some bold steps to improve air quality and PHE’s additional work will support its objective of a clean air generation.

And finally, Ramadan Kareem to our Muslim colleagues and friends.

Best wishes


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