Duncan Selbie is the Chief Executive of Public Health England. From 2007 to 2012 he was Chief Executive of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and earlier South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust. He has worked in the NHS since 1980.
He is an advocate of local government’s role in improving the public’s health saying that local experts are best placed to identify where their most vulnerable people are.
Selbie is also reported to believe that health policy should not be viewed in a silo because economic, educational, and social factors are key to improving health inequalities. He said “Good health is about having a good place to live, with a decent home, a job and friends.”
He regards health as being “inextricably linked to work” and is reported to have said “People in work generally have better health”.
As part of a drive to make hospitals healthier, Selbie has called for a 'tobacco-free' NHS, with a blanket ban on smoking on their grounds.
His organisation Public Health England recommended a range of measures to solve the problem of childhood obesity. In March 2016 when former Chancellor George Osborne announced a tax on sugary drinks Selbie said “A sugary drinks levy is fabulous news for children and families in helping them to cut back on sugar. This will reduce the risks of obesity, tooth decay and other life-threatening diseases.”
He was said by the Health Service Journal to be the 33rd most powerful person in the English NHS in December 2013. As of 2015, Selbie was paid a salary of between £185,000 and £189,999 by the department, making him one of the 328 most highly paid people in the British public sector at that time.