Duncan Selbie's Friday message: 19 December 2014

Weekly message from the Chief Executive of Public Health England.

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It is the moment of the year when many of us take time to reflect, and I wanted to take the opportunity to share some thoughts on PHE and the public health system as we reach our second Christmas.

The ongoing priority of responding to Ebola, or the floods across much of the country at the beginning of the year, has seen the public health community, within PHE and beyond, rise to the challenge of protecting and reassuring the public in often difficult circumstances for extended periods of time. I am humbled by the courage and professionalism of our people, and we will never forget that protecting the public is our first duty.

I remain struck by the universally positive way local government has embraced its new duty to improve the public’s health and the courage, skill and determination of Directors of Public Health and their teams in adapting to their new circumstances, and in making the most of the wider connections and possibilities from being in local government.

Interdependent with local government is, of course, the partnership with the NHS, and many worried that the 2013 reforms would lead to a separation between public health and the NHS. I am delighted that the NHS 5 Year Forward View, produced jointly by NHS England, PHE, Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority, the Care Quality Commission, and Health Education England, has put prevention at the heart of the NHS agenda.

I wish everyone a peaceful and happy Christmas break. My thoughts are particularly with those who will be working on Ebola in the UK, in our laboratories, on screening at the major ports of entry, and in Sierra Leone.

Published 19 December 2014