National Institiue for Health and Clinical Excellence

Annual Review - 2009/2010

PCTs and other organisations will be able to see how much money they will save in the long run, by investing now in initiatives to prevent ill health

Promoting healthy living

NICE’s Centre for Public Health Excellence (CPHE) produces guidance that can be used by people working in local authorities, the NHS, schools, workplaces and the wider public and voluntary sector to encourage healthy lifestyles and promote good health.

This year NICE has committed to analysing in all future public health guidance the cost savings that could be made by implementing its recommendations. This means primary care trusts and other organisations will be able to see how much money they will save in the long run by investing now in initiatives to prevent ill health.

In 2009/10 CPHE produced guidance on four new topics: promoting mental wellbeing at work, school-based interventions to prevent smoking, social and emotional wellbeing in secondary education, and reducing differences in the uptake of immunisations.

Promoting mental wellbeing at work

Published in November 2009, this guidance for employers aims to help reduce the estimated 13.7 million working days lost each year due to work-related mental health conditions including stress, depression and anxiety, which are estimated to cost UK employers around £28.3 billion per year.

The guidance recommends a positive organisation-wide approach that promotes mental wellbeing through changes in ways of working, such as improved line management and providing flexible working where appropriate.

Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work, said of the guidance: “It is an excellent resource for the increasing number of employers who understand the need to create healthy workplaces which promote mental wellbeing, for the benefit of employees and their families. The guidance explains how best to build that positive environment.”

Download the guidance here.

School-based interventions to prevent smoking

This guidance outlines effective steps that schools, teachers, health professionals, pupils, parents and carers can take to help young people stay away from smoking.

The guidance advises encouraging pupils themselves to lead smoking prevention activities, and integrating discussions on the effects of smoking across a range of curriculum topics including biology, chemistry, citizenship and media studies.

All NICE public health guidance published in 2009/10 can be downloaded from the NICE website along with tools to help put the recommendations into practice.

Download the guidance here.

Evidence expertise

In 2009/10, in addition to its programme of guidance development, CPHE carried out two pieces of consultancy work.

Blood alcohol and drink-driving

The Department of Transport commissioned CPHE to review the evidence on whether lowering the ‘legal limit’ of alcohol in the blood would reduce alcohol-related road traffic injuries and deaths.

The team conducted a detailed independent review and analysis of evidence from around the world. Their findings, which included evidence for tightening the blood alcohol concentration level laws for driving in the UK, to bring us in line with most of Europe, were published in June 2010. The NICE review will form part of the Department of Transport’s ‘North review of drink and drug driving law’. Read more about the NICE review on our website.

Behaviour change

The World Health Organization (WHO) asked NICE to review what kind of healthcare systems best support people to change their behaviour and make healthy lifestyle choices, such as keeping fit, quitting smoking and losing weight.

The CPHE team worked with the WHO to consider different factors including the price of healthcare, the training and support offered to healthcare workers, and the tailoring and targeting of healthcare services.

The review will be published in summer 2010.

Professor Mike Kelly, Director of the NICE CPHE, said: “These consultancy projects are testament to the high regard in which NICE’s public health team is held. It’s a new kind of work for us, and one which we’re keen to expand, giving policy makers in the UK and abroad access to our independent expertise in evidence-based public health.”