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House of Commons Hansard
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Public Health Improvement
06 March 2007
Volume 457
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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what campaigns her Department has run to improve public health since May 1997; what the cost was of each; and what assessment she has made of the impact on the relevant health indicators in the following year in each case. [115679]

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The following table outlines the cost of departmental campaigns undertaken to improve public health since May 1997.

£ million

Campaign

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Antibiotics

0.27

1.25

0.78

0.59

1.02

0.39

CALM

0.49

0.12

0.51

0.64

0.38

0.58

0.43

0.44

0.32

Drugs 1

1.75

2.62

3.26

Flu

0.23

0.28

0.08

4.32

1.45

2.40

1.95

2.25

2.32

Hepatitis C

0.15

0.70

1.28

Immunisation

1.67

2.36

3.63

3.10

1.35

Mental health, Mind Out

0.97

1.01

1.62

Sexwise/teenage pregnancy

0.79

0.85

1.23

3.85

2.44

1.97

2.15

Sexual Health

0.30

1.50

1.60

1.27

0.62

Smoking

15.50

13.73

12.30

11.56

23.41

26.50

30.50

TB awareness

0.30

0.09

0.01

0.20

5 A DAY

0.50

0.50

0.48

1.03

0.90

0.92

1 Departmental contribution to the Frank substance misuse campaign is jointly funded by the Department, Home Office (HO) and Department for Education and Skills (DfES)

Each campaign is only one of a number of interventions in the drive to improve public health. It is not possible to separate the impact of these campaigns from that of other interventions or factors which may have influenced public behaviour over the period in question.

Antibiotics

As a result of an increase in the number of strains of bacteria developing resistance the Department launched a publicity campaign, aimed at health professionals and the general public, in 1999-2000 to encourage sensible prescribing and use of antibiotics.

The ongoing publicity campaigns inform the public not to routinely expect antibiotics for coughs and colds as antibiotics only work on bacterial infections, and not on most coughs and colds or viral infections. As well as posters and leaflets we also provided general practitioners with pads of non-prescription forms that could be given to patients explaining why the doctor was not prescribing an antibiotic.

Evaluations have shown that the public has understood the key messages and we believe that they will have contributed to the decrease in antibiotic prescribing in the community.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)

The suicide rate in young men is coming down but we do not have direct evidence of the effect or influence of the CALM campaign on that reduction.

This Department campaign came to and end on 31 March 2006. From 1 April 2006 CALM became a charity, not sponsored by the Department.

Drugs

The FRANK drugs information campaign funded jointly by the Department, the Home Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs targets young people aged 11 to 21 years, particularly vulnerable young people, and the parents or carers of 11-18 year olds. It provides a gateway for information and advice about the effects and risks of drugs, local treatment services and drugs and the law.

The campaign contributes towards the Department’s public service agreement (PSA) target to increase the participation of problem drug users in drug treatment programmes by 100 per cent. by 2008 (from 1998) and increase year on year the proportion of users successfully sustaining or completing treatment programmes.

The PSA target was exceeded in 2005-06 with 181,390 users going in to treatment. The FRANK campaign is now placing particular emphasis on meeting the needs of vulnerable young people as well as supporting a wider programme of activity in support of the joint DfES/Home Office target to reduce the numbers of young people using drugs.

In the two years to April 2006 the talk to FRANK campaign website received over 10 million hits with 500,000 hits to its treatment pages. Over the same period the FRANK helpline received 1.6 million calls and answered 107,000 emails. The helpline has directed over 45,000 young people to treatment services.

Flu

The seasonal influenza campaign in the United Kingdom has made considerable progress in increasing the coverage of the at-risk and target population, set against the World Health Organisation 2010 target of 75 per cent. The UK has already achieved this target and among European countries is one of the highest achievers.

Hepatitis C awareness campaign (FaCe It)

One of the main aims of the hepatitis C awareness campaign (FaCe It) is to increase diagnosis and there are two national outcome indicators, drawn from epidemiological surveillance by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), intended to track this.

The first indicator is the total number of laboratory confirmed hepatitis C infection reports. There has been a significant increase in hepatitis C diagnoses in England reported to the HPA through national surveillance from around 5,600 in 2002 to around 7,600 in 2005.

The second indicator is the proportion of injecting drug users attending treatment and support agencies who are aware of their hepatitis C infection. The proportion of those who are aware of their hepatitis C infection has increased from 42 per cent. in 2002 to 52 per cent. in 2005.

Research into awareness among general practitioners/practices nurses and the public indicates that awareness of hepatitis C has increased since the campaign began.

Immunisation programme

The routine immunisation programme in the UK aims to protect all babies and children from the age of two months onwards. The serious diseases that the programme protects against include—Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough (pertussis), Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b), Polio, Meningitis C, Pneumococcal infection, measles, mumps, rubella.

The impact of advertising and other communication materials are regularly monitored through public surveys involving around 2,000 parents each year. From this we know that more than 70 per cent. of parents use our printed material and that recall of TV advertising is high. Health professionals have a high awareness of, and positive reactions to, the Department/Immunisation Information materials available.

Mind out for mental health

In March 2001, the Department launched a national campaign, “mind out for mental health”, aimed at tackling the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. The campaign was aimed at key groups such as employers, the media and young people; as well as the public in general, to help raise awareness of mental health issues and put an end to stigma and discrimination. This campaign came to an end on 31 March 2004. We believe the campaign has been a positive presence but do not have direct evidence of any impact on health indicators.

Teenage pregnancy

Work around reducing teenage pregnancy is based on a number of different strands, one of which is the national campaigning work. It is therefore impossible to separate out these strands when it comes to assessing the overall effectiveness of the work.

Teenage pregnancy rates are falling. Between the 1998 baseline year and 2004 (the latest year for which data are available) the under-18 conception rate has fallen by 11.1 per cent, and the under-16 rate has fallen by 15.2 per cent. Both rates are now at their lowest level for 20 years.

Sexual health

Evaluation of the sex lottery campaign December 2002 to December 2004, focused primarily on campaign recognition, perceptions about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and condom usage.

In terms of awareness of advertising about STIs, non-promoted awareness increased from 35 per cent. at the start to 53 per cent. by the end of the campaign.

In addition, there were some significant shifts in attitudes to STIs throughout the life of the campaign in particular in terms of potential risk (the risk of getting an STI has increased—more than 11 per cent.) and in terms of protection (It does not matter how many partners someone has as long as they are careful, i.e. use a condom—more than 9 per cent).

These changes in attitude are being built on as part of the new adult sexual health campaign, condom essential wear, which was launched in November 2006. Based on social marketing principles the new campaign aims to bring about positive behavioural change in regard to sexual health.

Behavioural change takes time and will therefore need to be measured over a number of years. Attitudes and behavioural indicators were benchmarked in November 2006 and the fieldwork for the first phase of campaign evaluation is due to commence in early March 2007.

Smoking

A comprehensive strategy to tackle smoking and to reduce the deaths caused by smoking has been in place since publication of “Smoking Kills” in 1998. The strategy focuses on action to discourage people from starting to smoke and to provide support for all smokers, of whatever age and sex, who wish to quit. We are aiming to create a climate where non-smoking is the norm.

We have banned almost all tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion; introduced strong tobacco pack health warnings; and from December 1999 run highly effective national anti-smoking education campaigns raising awareness of the health damage of smoking and secondhand smoke. People who wish to give up smoking can get help from the national health service stop smoking—a world leading programme we set up.

In 2006, Parliament passed the Health Act which includes provision for the prohibition of smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces. This will mean every pub, club, membership club, cafe, restaurant, shopping centre, office and public and work transport will become smoke-free on Sunday 1 July 2007, when the legislation is implemented.

The Government’s strategy has helped reduce smoking rates in England from 28 per cent. in 1998 to 24 per cent. in terms of 2005 populations, the latest year for which figures are available, meaning around 1.6 million fewer smokers in England. These are the lowest smoking rates in England on record and indicate that the Government is on track to meet the PSA target of 21 per cent. or lower smoking prevalence in 2010.

Tuberculosis

No research has been undertaken into the effectiveness of this campaign.

5 A DAY

DEFRA’s annual Household Expenditure Survey for 2005-06 (published in January 2007) recorded the biggest increase in fruit and vegetables purchases (7.7 per cent.) for over 20 years. This was aligned to a 6 per cent. decrease in confectionery sales.

The Food Standards Agency Consumer Attitudes Survey 2005 showed that 67 per cent. of people are now aware that they should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, up from 43 per cent. in 2000.

The 5 A DAY logo was launched by Department on 25 March 2003 and over 550 organisations are licensed to use it. The 5 A DAY logo now appears on over 700 fruit and vegetable products in shops and restaurants.