Westminster Health Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
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Next steps for healthy weight management in England - the new obesity strategy, primary care interventions, innovation in support and public engagement, and the role of industry and technology

Morning, Wednesday, 9th September 2020

Online Conference


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This timely conference will discuss the next steps for healthy weight management in England.

It will be an opportunity to discuss the Government’s approach in its new policy drive aimed at countering obesity, what it means for stakeholders, and the potential impact on public health.

Key stakeholders and policymakers will discuss the recently-published Tackling obesity strategy which sets out plans and actions including:

  • launch of the Better Health campaign by PHE, which includes access to resources such as the free NHS 12 week weight loss plan app, as well as new advertising and partnerships
  • expansion of healthy weight management services available through the NHS, building on commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan
  • encouraging healthier food choices and restriction of high fat, sugar and salt food promotions, and banning their advertisement before 9pm on TV and online
  • training for staff to become healthy weight coaches, which primary care networks will be able to access through PHE
  • increasing patient access to specialist support, with GPs being incentivised to refer patients through the Quality and Outcomes Framework

Key areas for discussion:

We expect a focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthy weight management, with reports showing an increase in comfort eating and weight gain during the COVID-19 lockdown, and evidence that obesity is a key risk factor for more severe COVID-19 symptoms in individuals.

Delegates will discuss what can be learned for future clinical practice and organisations from the pressures encountered and the way support services have adapted - including in the areas of:

  • harnessing increased awareness of health risks posed by obesity
  • how this can feed into policy, practice and public health messaging into the future
  • extra support that might be required for those receiving and delivering services in the wake of the pandemic

Overall, issues for discussion include:

Primary care

  • effective patient engagement and identifying those most at risk
  • use of specialist referrals as part of the obesity strategy
  • increasing personalised care, and the delivery of lifestyle management support, including remotely


  • developing staff to become healthy weight coaches, and ensuring the confidence of primary care staff in raising healthy weight discussions with patients and providing advice

Integrating support services across local health systems - resource sharing, addressing variation of care in local areas, and utilising population health methods

Childhood weight - developing online resources and local authority, school, community services and third sector strategies to support children and their families

Public information

  • looking at PHE’s recommendations on weight management and obesity messages, and the way forward for implementation - including how to maximise the reach of the Better Health Campaign
  • what can be learned from past public health campaigns and how they can inform messages on weight management and obesity as the strategy looks to learn lessons from tackling smoking

Innovation - accessibility and usability of resources for patients, maintaining access to support during the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, and ensuring patient safety and data security

The weight loss and food and drink industries

  • their role in supporting safe management of healthy weight and encouraging healthy eating and lifestyle options
  • what will be needed to secure their effective engagement with the new campaigns and policy initiatives
  • the wider role that industry can play in supporting the Government strategy and helping create an environment that encourages healthy choices

The NHS Health Check Review - what is needed to increase uptake and more personalised interventions from the service, and its role in prevention and early identification of those needing guidance

Health inequalities

  • assessing next steps for policy to improve access to weight management support in deprived areas and across society
  • developing population health methods to prevent people from falling through the net

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:

  • The recently published Part One of the National Food Strategy which reflects on the country’s eating habits and how these can be improved, recommending and supporting the actions within the new Government strategy, as well as looking forward to part two expected in 2021 which will include the systemic interventions needed in the food system
  • The Lords Hungry for Change: fixing the failures in food report, calling on government to ensure healthy and sustainable diets are available to all, with recommendations on food insecurity, the benefits system, HFSS food restrictions, funding and support for disadvantaged children, and oversight of a national food strategy
  • Professor Dame Sally Davies’s independent Time to solve childhood obesity report citing the importance of advice by health professionals to families around weight in obesity prevention
  • Public Health England findings and plans:
    • the recent report on childhood obesity trends over the last decade, which highlights health inequalities with rising childhood obesity found to be most prevalent in deprived areas
    • healthier weight and diets prioritised in its strategy for 2020-25
    • COVID-19: understanding the impact on BAME communities, which highlights obesity and diabetes as the most important risk factors and proposes developing a strategy for tackling circumstances leading to health inequalities
  • The Marmot Review 10 Years On citing widening health inequalities and the geographical variance
  • Calls from campaigners for government to improve advice, access and delivery of evidence-based weight loss support and establish a new independent food watchdog to oversee these measures
  • The recent parliamentary The Health of the Nation: A Strategy for Healthier Longer Lives report calling for a drive to prevent conditions associated with obesity in supporting longer healthy life

The agenda:

  • Delivering goals within the context of healthy weight management policy
  • Improving interventions and quality of advice in primary care settings:
    • Provision of personalised, accessible and quality advice to patients
    • Healthcare workforce training and improving weight management guidance
    • Integrating healthy weight management across local health systems
  • Supporting access to healthy weight guidance for children and families
  • A case study from Leeds - strategies for school children to achieve a healthy weight in Leeds
  • Lessons in changing behaviour from effective public health campaigns
  • Innovation and service user support - technology access and usability, safety and data protection, and the roles of industry, local community services and employers in improving population health

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

It’s certainly the case with this one. Places have been reserved by officials from DHSC; Defra; MHCLG; HM Treasury; HM Revenue & Customs and the National Audit Office.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Dr Neel Basudev

GP Principal and Diabetes Lead, Lambeth CCG

Professor Maggie Rae

President, Faculty of Public Health

Keynote Speakers

Professor Maggie Rae

President, Faculty of Public Health

Jenny Oldroyd

Deputy Director, Obesity, Food and Nutrition, Department Of Health and Social Care

Siobhan Jennings

Nutritionist and School Food Advisor, Health and Wellbeing Service, Leeds City Council

Susannah Howard

ICS Programme Director, Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System (ICS)

Jane Flint

Programme Lead, National Programmes, Population Health, Prevention and Maternity, Health Education England

Dr Neel Basudev

GP Principal and Diabetes Lead, Lambeth CCG


Baroness Jenkin of Kennington

Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity


Isabelle Kelly

Sustainable Development Manager, Quorn Foods

Zoe Griffiths

Global Director of Nutrition, WW (formally Weight Watchers)

Dr Helen Flaherty

Head of Health Promotion, Heart Research UK