We share and understand the disappointment across the public health family that neither standardised packaging nor minimum unit pricing are to be taken forward for the moment by Government. With tobacco and alcohol being among the nation’s top killers this is, however, hopefully a case of not now, rather than never. Both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State have made clear that they are open to further evidence emerging.
Last Friday I joined Sir Mike Rawlins, formerly the Chair of NICE, the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, representatives from the local authority and the clinical commissioning group, together with the area director of NHS England, and senior police officers at an amazing celebration at the Kingfisher Church in Gloucester.
Last week we opened a fantastic new £10m laboratory on the Heartlands Hospital campus in a partnership between PHE and the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham. This will enable our two organisations to provide a modern and efficient pathology service to the West Midlands as well as an up-to-the-minute public health microbiology service.
And finally, congratulations to everyone involved in Bowel and Cancer Screening in Kent and Medway who won first prize for their Bowel Cancer Screening stand – which included a walk through colon – at the Kent Show last weekend.