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Duncan Selbie's Friday message - 26 July 2019

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Dear everyone

Firstly, congratulations to the Right Honourable Matt Hancock MP who has been reappointed as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Prevention Green Paper

This week saw the publication of the Prevention Green Paper, offering everyone the next opportunity to shift the focus from cure to prevention. A Green Paper is by definition the beginning of a conversation and is timely with the formation of a new Government. We look forward to working with everyone on the consultation over the next three months and in readiness for the Spending Review.

Predictive prevention

PHE has been working on Predictive Prevention which aims to give people tailored information at the times they want it and are likely to use it drawing on behavioural science and the latest information technology and digital platforms. The programme poses and looks to answer some important questions, including whether and how a more intelligent, personal approach to information sharing can be used to improve health and wellbeing.  Our latest blog explains this further.

Healthy Living Pharmacies

The Department of Health and Social Care announced this week that all NHS pharmacies will be expected to become Healthy Living Pharmacies (HLPs) by April 2020, which follows the introduction by PHE in 2016 of a profession-led process for how pharmacies can attain HLP status and the NHSE/I led quality payment for HLP status.There are already over 9,500 such pharmacies in England helping people stay well and manage when unwell.  This announcement is included in the new community pharmacy contractual framework and will mean many more pharmacists and their teams will be providing interventions that promote good health.


The Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy (SACT) database is a world-first collection of data on chemotherapy treatments, recording all those given to all cancer patients across England. We have published a paper in the International Journal of Epidemiology, which provides an insight into the SACT dataset and highlights how it can be used to improve patient care and the most effective treatments.

Hepatitis awareness

This Sunday marks World Hepatitis Awareness Day and PHE is working with the NHS and local government to trace and treat people who were diagnosed before curative treatments were widely available, as well as encouraging targeted testing in the general population. As this infection, which causes liver cirrhosis and cancer, is often symptom-free for many years some people may not be aware they are infected and it more often affects marginalised groups.

The Hajj

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is expecting to welcome 3.7 million Muslims from around the globe for Hajj this August. We have renewed our public health advice calling for pilgrims, travellers and health care professions to be aware of the signs and symptoms of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV infection) which is currently circulating in the region. Though the risk of infection for UK residents travelling to the Middle East remains very low, we have further updated our MERS-CoV infection risk assessment ahead of Hajj.


The latest edition of Health Matters focuses on taking a whole systems approach to tackling obesity. Alongside the content, there is a blog post and free, downloadable infographics that can be used to share the key messages.

Best wishes, Duncan

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