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Getting Serious About Prevention 2018: CVD Conference highlights

Public Health England (PHE) hosted its fifth annual cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention conference – Getting Serious About CVD Prevention 2018 – on 8 February at the Oval in London, attended by over 400 delegates from across the sector. 

The focus of this year’s conference was ‘reducing variation and optimising care’, which are both crucial actions to take to ensure that we can collaboratively prevent CVD through programmes such as the NHS Health Check and ensure that it reaches its full potential. The conference celebrated the NHS Health Check programme and its success in inviting more than 12 million eligible people to have a check since 2013, and more importantly, the uptake of this offer by 6 million of these people.

By promoting healthy ageing and tackling the top seven risk factors for early death and disability, the NHS Health Check provides a cornerstone for the prevention of CVD, as well as kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and dementia.

NHS HC update


The event reinforced what local commissioners and programme providers can do to maximise the NHS Health Check programme’s impact and ensure that 100% of the eligible population receive an offer for the check. 

In his keynote speech, Duncan Selbie spoke about ‘tackling CVD together’, emphasising the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach and the opportunities to work with NHS England and other partners to improve CVD prevention through the implementation of PHE’s commitments on the Five Year Forward View.

Duncan Selbie CVD Conference 2018

The plenary sessions were expertly chaired by Dr Sarah Jarvis, with the day consisting of a national programme update by Jamie Waterall (PHE national lead for CVD prevention and associate deputy chief nurse), a panel discussion and Q&A, a balloon debate focusing on whether individuals or public services are responsible for reducing CVD risk, and 12 workshops.

Plenary Sarah Jarvis chair

 Plenary delegates

Plenary Kevin Fenton presentation


This year’s conference welcomed a range of topic experts who each delivered on a number of workshops, including training sessions, presentations and round table discussions.

There were three training opportunities for delegates to participate in and develop their knowledge and skills. Michaela Nuttall from Smarter Health Solutions explored communicating risk to make an impact and Dr Penny Newman led a session on Health Coaching. The PHE leadership session, led by Mark Patterson, was a new feature in this year’s conference, acknowledging the role that professionals play is leading the way for CVD prevention.

There were also three round table discussion sessions, where delegates were able to unpick key issues together around ensuring equity and reducing inequality in CVD prevention initiatives; the role of health care professionals in behaviour change; and maximising the local impact of the NHS Health Check programme.

We were also fortunate to have a range of presentations chaired by some of the leading people working to tackle CVD such as, Size of the Prize, Exploring digital; National diabetes prevention programme; Commissioning the NHS Health Check and Detecting familial hypercholesterolemia. We were also delighted to be joined by colleagues from the Million Hearts project in the USA and Hypertension Canada who each gave an international update on their work to tackle CVD.

CDC Centre for CVD Control Atlanta

Hypertension Canada

Balloon debate

This year marked our first ever balloon debate, focusing on whether individuals or the government is responsible for reducing CVD risk. The debate provide an informative and entertaining opportunity to present ideas to the audience. We are grateful to the all of our balloon debaters: Dr Danny Ruta, Director of Public Health, London Borough of Lewisham; Matthew Cripps, National Director of NHS RightCare, NHS England; Jan Proctor-King, Practice Nurse in Bradford, Et Al Training tutor and Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Primary Care Nursing; Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, Director of Public Health for Haringey; Professor John Deanfield, British Heart Foundation Vandervell Professor of Cardiology at University College Hospital, London; Councillor Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Devolution, London Borough of Hackney. PHE congratulates Professor Deanfield on his victory in the debate!

Balloon debate panel

 Jan Procter-King Et Al Training

 Jan Procter King


The exhibition space was a bustling and engaging area, with a wide variety of organisations involved from the private, public and voluntary sector.  Delegates had the opportunity to receive cholesterol and HbA1C testing, which was offered by BHR or visit Walsall Council’s mobile sitting room, pictured below.

This year we launched the CVD Prevention Knowledge & Intelligence Zone as part of the exhibition. Colleagues from PHE’s National Cardiovascular Health Intelligence Network and the Local Knowledge and Intelligence Service provided updates on resources and tools available on CVD.

 Walsall Council’s mobile sitting room


Exhibition area


Many thanks to the authors who presented their high quality posters at the conference and congratulations to Matt Mellor, Health Diagnostics Ltd, who won the delegates vote for the best conference poster.

Jamie Waterall and Matt Mellor, Poster Winner

Find out more

 All the conference presentations are available online and you can read a Public health matters blog for more information.


Have you seen #PHEHealthMatters, a resource for professionals providing data, tools and interventions to help you tackle key public health issues. Read all the #PHEHealthMatters blogs here.

Thank you

Finally, the success of this event relies heavily on the contributions of others, from the planning group, to the presentations and marketplace. So thank you to everyone who had an active role in contributing to this year’s conference. If you would like to help shape the content of our 2019 event please do get in touch at nhshealthchecks.mailbox@phe.gov.uk.


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