You cannot have good health without good mental health and this week the UK Government hosted a mental health summit, bringing together delegates from over 50 countries. Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock launched the UK Government ambition to achieve parity between mental and physical health. In parallel to this PHE launched Every Mind Matters, a new campaign highlighting the importance of looking after your mental health. The campaign, which is being piloted in the East and West Midlands, directs people to a new online hub of NHS assured practical advice and support for those experiencing common mental health problems such as anxiety, stress and sleeplessness. It embraces cutting edge digital methodologies and social media to ensure the messages reach the people they are intended for in a relevant and practical way. Subject to the evaluation of the pilot, this will be rolled out nationally next year.
As work on the NHS Long Term Plan continues at pace it was energising this week to hear Mayor Andy Burnham using this opportunity to set out his vision for Greater Manchester. This aims to integrate health across every public service including early years, education, community safety, housing and employment. He announced new place-based locality teams which will put a focus on people and place and importantly, put prevention at the heart of this and you can read his speech here.
This week we have met with major food industry businesses and NGOs to discuss the next phase of the calorie reduction programme, which aims to reduce calories by 20% by 2024 in the foods contributing the most calories to the diets of children. Overall, the food industry is approaching this with pragmatism and commitment and it was encouraging to see a strong turn out from the out of home sector (quick-service restaurants, food delivery companies, coffee shops, pubs etc), which has been underrepresented in previous forums. This is welcome engagement and we will publish the final guidance for each of the 14 food categories involved in spring 2019.
Last week G20 world leaders gathered in Argentina to take part in a crisis simulation exercise led by England’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies and developed and delivered by PHE, playing out what would happen in the event of an antibiotic resistance epidemic. Simulation exercises help prepare for emergencies and increase our ability to keep people safe by testing out systems and processes. My thanks go to our emergency response department for their work on this.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, PHE, along with Sport England, the World Health Organization and Health Enhancing Physical Activity Europe, will be hosting the fourth biennial International Society for Physical Activity and Health in London. This will bring together renowned international speakers from academia, policy and practice. Themes include physical activity and inequalities, using evidence to achieve population change and impacts on the wider determinants of health. You can learn more on the Congress website.
And finally, a warm welcome to the ImmForm team who are now part of PHE. Immform is a critical administration service for the delivery of the national immunisation programmes and enables the ordering of vaccines by the NHS, collects vaccine uptake data and would order pandemic flu clinical countermeasures in the event of a UK pandemic.