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The CMO’s bulletin (as seen in the Mail on Sunday and OK!)


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Thursday, 4 February 2016

The CMO’s bulletin (as seen in the Mail on Sunday and OK!)

Welcome to another bulletin from chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies, who invited us into her lovely home for a personal update.

Public health risks of Milk Tray

I deplore the arrival this week of a new Milk Tray Man. This supposedly amusing figure is a major public health menace, who promotes products that lead to diabetes, obesity and tooth decay. A small box of Milk Tray costs about £3 but the cost to the NHS of treating conditions directly linked to Milk Tray is around £10 billion a week.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a chocolate as much as the next CMO. I had a small one with a cup of decaffeinated espresso the Christmas before last, but I didn’t inhale!

The next glass could be your last

I’d like to congratulate those of you who have just completed Dry January. Giving your liver a short break can only be a good thing. It’s a pity you don’t have the strength of character to keep it up. Far be it from me to point out that the build-up of fatty tissue will lead eventually to the onset of cirrhosis and a lingering, painful death.  

I rarely drink, of course, but when I have friends round I like to joke that every glass of alcohol you consume takes you a step closer to cancer. They know me well enough to appreciate that this is just my way of having fun!

My friends all have jolly important jobs and know the value of a good night’s sleep, which is why they don’t usually stay for more than half a glass of sherry before heading off for an early night.

Can too much PR damage your health?

The short answer is no! Most of the evidence shows that publicity is basically harmless. I myself am always gracious enough to grant interviews, where I am able to share important public health messages, let ordinary people get a glimpse of my tastefully furnished London home, and show that I have a real sense of fun.

Just to put your minds at rest, for those of you who are not CMOs, the risks of appearing in the Sunday supplements or going on the radio to talk about antibiotics are practically non-existent.

Minimum safe limits

I am often asked if there is a minimum safe limit for health guidance. I have conducted an extensive review of the evidence, and I’m pleased to report that you can consume as much you like.

That may come as a surprise to those who think the job of the CMO is to stop people from having fun. 

But then most people don’t see me “off-duty”, curled up on the sofa with a mint tea and a copy of the latest mortality data.

Everyone who has met me envies my “rock and roll” lifestyle and says that I certainly know how to let my hair down. We usually have a jolly good laugh about it.

As told to NHS Networks


Anonymous says:
Feb 04, 2016 11:14 PM

CMO should know that PR means something quite different from "publicity".....in medical circles!!

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Feb 05, 2016 12:39 AM

I'm sure she does. And I learnt this the hard way during a media training course with GPs where I put up a slide proposing that they should "PR your press". Cue sniggering at the back.