Archive for July, 2018

KN LinkedIn ImageI didn’t think too much about the invitation to express interest in being a Faculty of Public Health examiner – it just felt like the right thing to do. Once I had applied and was approved, I was excited to join the team. So I was glad to be attending my first Examiner Training session in London on the 15th of March. The day was set aside for training, standard setting and question setting. These activities, at first, seemed obvious and possibly boring but they turned out to be anything but!

Once I had hopped off the tube at Great Portland Street, I made a dash across the road for the venue at Park Crescent Conference Centre. Arriving a few minutes late to a room full of colleagues from various places across the country who were mostly experienced examiners, I tip-toed in. I was eased into the room very quickly with kind smiles from around, chiefly from colleagues whom I had worked with years ago and hadn’t seen in a while. The business of the day quickly got past the examiner training which was delivered expertly by a colleague whose background was outside public health.

Then came time for the standard setting. This was everything I had not expected it to be. We went through questions, assessing each for the proportion of candidates at around training ‘entry’ level who we would expect to do just enough to pass that question. These were collated for all the examiners who were then given a chance to share the rationale for their scores and adjust, considering wider discussion, if they wished.

Mean scores, if within a limit of standard deviation, were accepted as the standard for a pass on that question. In all, what struck me most was the significant focus on the candidate. Where questions had even the slightest chance of not being very clear to a candidate, they were highlighted for change. The same approach was carried over into the question setting session where we had the opportunity to set new questions within our assigned examination sections. Each question was then peer-evaluated and honed, each time focusing on the candidate who would be sitting the examination to ensure it was clear and appropriate.

As the day ended, I was glad for the opportunity to catch up with colleagues whom I hadn’t seen in a while, meet new ones, and appreciate a process which positively surprised me in its ‘candidate-centredness’ and attention to detail. As I boarded my train back home to South East Wales, I couldn’t but have my attention drawn to acts of kindness I saw in the train from strangers, one to another. From the kind smiles to the considerate use of space and digital equipment, what I saw was very much like what I had seen all day at the examiner training sessions – genuine consideration of another’s needs. This warmed my heart very much and added to the lovely memories I have of being part of that session.

Written by Dr. Kelechi Nnoaham, Director of Public Health, Cwm Taf University Health Board, Wales.

Read Full Post »

I clearly remember starting public health training. It was nearly five years ago now, I’d just come off a string of night shifts on A&E and it took a month to get used to sitting down at a desk all day. I’ve enjoyed nearly every day of training and feel excited when I think of my future career in public health. I’m very pleased to welcome the new registrars and hope they enjoy training as much as I do.

One of the most special things about training is all the amazing opportunities that are available to us, it’s the perfect time to get as much experience as you can. Saying this, I remember finding everything a little confusing and daunting in my first couple of years, with so much on offer it’s hard to know what to choose. So here are a few of my top tips….

My main advice is not to focus on what you want to be (or think you want to be) at the end of training, but instead focus on what experiences you want to have during training. Get involved in things that get you in contact with registrars from other training regions. Everyone’s experiences of training are so different it can be really useful and interesting to hear about what other registrars are doing. One of my favourite ways of doing this was through helping with recruitment at the selection centre. Not only does this give something back to the specialty as they rely on the help of registrars to run the process to the high standard you will have experienced yourselves, but you’ll be there with registrars from all over the UK with plenty of time to socialise. Don’t forget that the registrars you are training with will be your colleagues when you get consultant posts!

My other piece of advice is to find out what is going on in Public Health beyond your day-to-day placements. This could be by attending conferences and training events or getting involved in some of the opportunities that FPH offers. I did this by joining the FPH Specialty Registrar Committee (SRC) and over the years this has become one of the highlights of my training. I initially joined as my regional rep because no one else wanted to do it, but I soon became immersed in the committee and found myself doing some fascinating work with them including representing public health registrars in discussions over the junior doctors’ contracts and shape of training proposals. I now have the privilege of being the Chair of the SRC and I am thrilled to be leading a committee who continually do such important work which benefits all registrars, like reviewing exams, sharing ideas and ensuring equity in training.

I would, of course, encourage you all to join the SRC – it’s a great way to meet people and gain an understanding of issues that affect public health training, workforce and practice. But if this is not for you there are several other opportunities you could take, such as joining a special interest group at FPH, or getting involved with your Union. This is your chance to make your training what you want so be proactive and get involved!

Written by Dr Emily Walmsley, ST4 Public Health Registrar and Chair of the Specialty Registrar’s Committee of FPH. You can find out more about FPH by clicking here.

Read Full Post »

Claire GilbertIf you’re reading this and about to embark on public health training, congratulations! I can’t believe it’s a year since I started the training programme, what a year it has been.

I joined the Yorkshire and Humber training programme last August after completing medical school, foundation and general practice training. My first year has been less than full time based at the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, having done the Master’s in Public Health prior to starting. My placement has involved analyses of a rise in drug-related deaths, evaluation of influenza prevention in care homes, leading a musculoskeletal conditions health needs assessment and preparing for Part A.

One of the most striking things for me is the variety within the training programme, offering a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills and develop interests. People enter from a range of different backgrounds, and once on the programme no two registrar experiences will be exactly the same. We all cover the core learning outcomes, but there is a wide array of learning opportunities, different placements and out of programme options. Knowing yourself, getting out of your comfort zone and working on areas you’ve never encountered can help maximise these opportunities.

There is an overall training curriculum against which you need to demonstrate full achievement for every learning outcome by the end of the scheme, a separate syllabus for the Part A exam, and content information for Part B, all available on the faculty website. Using these to guide Master’s module choices and to plan pieces of work on placements helps achievement of the overall goal – getting through the exams and signing off the learning outcomes to become a Consultant. The list of learning outcomes can seem overwhelming at first, but soon become more manageable as you get more familiar with them and hear about how others have achieved them.

The first year involves adjustment to a new role, working out how to manage competing work demands and understanding how your organisation works and its interface with other organisations. Getting to know some of the Registrars already on the programme, being organised but realistic about how much you can take on or achieve in a given time frame and having regular meetings with your educational supervisor can really help get the most out of that first year. Meeting with colleagues not only in your own team but more widely within the council or other organisation where you are working can offer useful learning opportunities.

On reflection, as I approach the end of my first year I realise what a great year it has been. I have had excellent support from peers, supervisors and training programme directors, and am excited about where the training programme will take me next.

Written by Claire Gilbert, Specialty Registrar in Public Health. You can follow Claire on Twitter here.

Read Full Post »

We’re delighted that the Public Health Dashboard has now been officially released and would like to thank all of those who fed in to its development over the past year.

In this blog, we’re pleased to share our thoughts on how, in your work across public health and local government, you can use the dashboard to help you in prioritising resources to improve the public’s health. And, we’re also pleased to let you know about some further work that Public Health England and the UK’s Faculty of Public Health (FPH) will be carrying forward jointly over the remainder of this year, offering further opportunities for the public health workforce to shape the Public Health Dashboard.

What is the Public Health Dashboard?

The Public Health Dashboard is an online, easy to use tool providing information at your fingertips on a number of indicators related to local activity to improve the public’s health and wellbeing. Its development was part of a wider Government drive to support transparency and local accountability for delivery across all public services and not just public health. You can learn more about the tool, the data it presents and how to use it here.

How can it be used?

If you’ve been following the development of the dashboard then you’ll know that Directors of Public Health and their teams are not its primary intended user audience. Rather, the dashboard is aimed at local decision-makers, such as senior council officers, to help inform their investment decisions and better support them to prioritise resource when it comes to improving the public’s health.

Tools like this one that help a non-public health professional audience make good public health investment decisions will be especially needed once the public health grant ring-fence is removed at some future date. We also hope that members of the public, the voluntary sector, and service providers will use the dashboard to learn more about service provision in their area and how it compares to other areas.

However, we also think that the public health workforce will find considerable value in using the Dashboard. When FPH was speaking to its members about some of the challenges they encounter when advocating for public health investment and influencing to achieve better health outcomes, they said that it was sometimes difficult to demonstrate the value of public health, in all of its complexity, in a way that was intelligible to a non-specialist audience. This is one of the reasons why FPH’s project on the future of public health funding includes a call for an improved dashboard tool — to help the public health community get better at making its case for resource and telling its story.

So, it’s our hope that public health teams will use the Public Health Dashboard to:

  • Champion investment in public health services
  • Raise the profile of public health with politicians and local residents
  • Help make the case clearly and simply for decisions about public health resource allocation priorities
  • Enable greater scrutiny of public health service delivery at the local level that can drive improvements in public health outcomes

What next?

At the moment the Public Health Dashboard includes the following local authority service areas:

  • Best start in life
  • Child obesity
  • Drug treatment
  • Alcohol treatment
  • NHS Health Checks
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Tobacco control
  • Air quality (interim indicator)

You’ll notice that, with the exception of air quality, the dashboard doesn’t currently include an indicator on the wider determinants of health. This is because it only includes indicators where there’s a clear relationship between council activity and public health service delivery.

However, based on feedback from FPH’s members and others, we’re now keen to further consider the potential for including indicators for the wider determinants of health in the dashboard. We agree with those who told us that it’s important for the Dashboard to reflect the context and environment in which service delivery is occurring and to facilitate a more place-based approach to public health priorities and investment at the local level.

That’s why over the coming months, PHE and FPH will together consult with FPH’s members and the wider public health community regarding the potential inclusion of wider determinants indicators to feature in the Public Health Dashboard. We’ll do this over a series of workshops in the autumn to develop a group of wider determinants indicators that meet the criteria for inclusion in the Dashboard. We know this is a complex and broad topic and we’re committed to taking the time to make sure we continue to engage with the public health community on it as the Public Health Dashboard develops.

Written by Richard Gleave, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer, Public Health England, and Professor John Middleton, President, FPH.

Read Full Post »

Remembering Dr Maurice William Beaver, MB, BSc, DPH, FFPH, FRSPH (24 July 1930 –
23 April 2018)

Maurice was brought up in London and Cornwall during the war, and educated at Ilford County High School for Boys. In 1949, he went to study medicine at University College Hospital Medical School in London. After graduation, he served as a Junior House Officer with a consultant surgeon in Portsmouth and at the Scott Isolation Hospital for Infectious diseases in Plymouth, where he acquired experience in general and genito-urinary medicine.

Having qualified as a Doctor in 1955, National Service took Maurice overseas to serve as a Captain, in the Army Medical Corp in Malaya. He enjoyed his time there, as doctor to a British Army regiment, an Australian Army regiment and a Gurkha regiment – particularly his work supporting the Gurkha soldiers and their families.

On returning to the UK in 1957, Maurice secured a post as a House Officer in the department of obstetrics, gynaecology and genito-urinary medicine at King’s Lynn General Hospital in Norfolk, where he met his wife, Marian Pollyn, a midwifery sister. Originally, he planned to take up a further commission in the Army Medical Corp and thereafter to become a GP in Cornwall, but unfortunately in 1958, Maurice was diagnosed with TB, probably contracted in Malaya, and, after major lung surgery, he had to make significant changes to his career plans.

In 1959, Maurice went to the School of Public Health in London to study for a Diploma in Public Health, which enabled him to pursue a career as an epidemiologist and public health practitioner, initially for various County Councils and latterly for the National Health Service.

Maurice’s first post in Public Health was in Northampton, where he specialised in paediatric mental health and was very well-liked by doctors and children alike. In 1963, he accepted a post as Senior Assistant Medical Officer for the County of Norfolk. Then, in 1968, Maurice secured a post as Deputy County Medical Officer of Health for Nottinghamshire. In 1974, he was promoted again to the role of Area Medical Health Officer for South Yorkshire, where he made a significant contribution to the region’s public health services, including oversee-ing the opening of a new general hospital in Barnsley.

In 1979, Maurice’s career moved him back in Nottingham as Special Adviser for the East Midlands and Senior lecturer in Public Medicine at the University Medical School. This was the stage in his career he enjoyed the most, using his public health expertise to mentor students in their studies and research. Around this time, he was appointed Editor of the UK’s Public Health Journal – a post he held well into retirement, such was his ability to keep his medical knowledge current. Overseas, he was invited to participate in several academic fora as a special adviser to the World Health Organisation and to ASPHER, the international association for public health bodies. He travelled widely as an international consultant, (including assignments in Padua, Italy and for the Greek Government in Athens). He gave papers and participated in conferences, which he found particularly rewarding.

In the late 1980’s, Maurice’s role in Nottingham incorporated Director of Public Health Information and Computer Services, with responsibility for building a team to pilot the use of information technology in the NHS. In the last years of his career, Maurice became Director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire, where he was considered a wise counsellor and adviser by the Chairman of the Nottingham Health Authority Trust.
During his long career, Maurice published research into many areas of public health. His research on cardiac disease in Norfolk firemen subsequently led to the force adopting recommendations for important changes in shift management, stress reduction, diet and exercise. He produced a paper on “Milk and Infant Mortality” that updated advice on child nutrition. During the BSE crisis, he produced another on “Government Responsibility for Public Health Information to the Public” that set the standards in this area for the future. In policymaking, Maurice introduced the breast screening programme for women in Nottingham, and he made changes that ensured better provision for mental health for children and adults, and reforms within mental health institutions.

Maurice was a man of considerable intellectual capacity, a doctor with the culture and interests of a scientist, a classicist and a natural historian. He never lost his enquiring mind and the habit of continual learning. As an epidemiologist, he produced research and designed policy that contributed significantly to improvements in public health provision in this country and overseas. As a manager and teacher, he also had a deep insight into what made people well and happy at work – using that insight in his coaching and encouragement of his colleagues, students and friends in their personal development

Former colleagues describe Maurice as “a wonderful and inspirational leader”, who was always interested in the lives, experiences and views of others; “a friend who always had sound advice”; that he had “what is best in Doctors – a scientific approach combined with his love and knowledge of classics and art”; “a man of great wisdom and humour”; “an encouraging and challenging boss”, who “created a department that was exciting to work in, where ideas flowed and where people listened to each other”. Students described him as an “inspiring teacher” with a “door that was always open for practical advice and support based on his “real-world experience”, coupled with philosophical insights and a welcoming smile”. Finally, that he was “a blessing in my life as a mentor and a friend”; someone “who will always be remembered with great affection by all those who knew him”; and “who was a fair and clever colleague whose like will be rarely seen again”.

Maurice leaves his widow, Marian, his three daughters, and his three grand-daughters.

Written by Rosemary Beaver, one of Maurice’s three daughters.

Read Full Post »


We all want public health action that we know will work. But how do we know what will work unless we build an evidence base by researching real-world actions?

To help Public Health researchers find these actions to research, NIHR and FPH are supporting a new system. Phinder is a website that lists interventions from across the UK that are open to being researched.

There has been an increasing recognition of, and frustration about, the separation of frontline public health practice from public health research (and vice versa). Public Health has ample opportunity to influence actions across a wide range of determinants of health. It has the opportunity to get involved in a myriad of actions that have the potential to impact on population health and health inequalities. However, there is often a lack of research evidence to inform these actions.

Meanwhile public health researchers are keen to undertake research that has impact in the real world, but don’t necessarily know what interventions are being developed or delivered that could benefit from research input. There may be many reasons for this. Researchers sometimes struggle to connect with practitioners in local government or the voluntary sector. They often work to very different time frames. And the budgets of practitioners for research are usually very limited.

So, some bright spark suggested “What we need is Tinder for public health!”

After a bit of word play the idea of “phinder” was born. Phinder aims to flag up real-world interventions to interested researchers. The website holds a searchable database of interventions that are accompanied by a small amount of detail and the contact details of someone involved with the intervention who is happy to talk about it further with researchers. Its aim is simply to broker connections between practitioners and researchers with a mutual interest in generating evidence to inform policy and practice.

To work well phinder needs a good stream of novel interventions from public health practice. We think phinder’s database of interventions will stimulate interest among researchers and facilitate new connections, leading to productive relationships.

We are keen to hear from those in practice about their interventions. It is easy to submit an idea – just fill in the simple online form and it will be uploaded to the web site and then tweeted by @researchphinder. Researchers can visit the web site regularly to view new opportunities, follow phinder on twitter or sign up for email alerts.

Phinder does not, unfortunately, offer a guarantee of research funding, nor an evaluation service. Researchers are invited to work with practitioners to develop, and then submit their applications for funding to whichever funder they think is most appropriate. The researcher-led stream of the NIHR Public Health Research programme is always open and proposals are reviewed three times a year. On the NIHR PHR web site you will find plenty of guidance, tools and tips to help develop a winning application.

So, let’s heal the divide between public health research and practice by feeding ideas for research into phinder and build an evidence base to help us take impactful action. All it takes is a little match-making.

For more information visit the phinder website, or follow @researchphinder on Twitter.

Written by Prof Martin White, Programme Director of the NIHR Public Health Research programme, and Dr Helen Walters, Consultant Advisor to the NIHR Public Health Research programme. You can follow Martin on Twitter @martinwhite33 and you can follow Helen @PHev4LG.

Read Full Post »

Steve MaddernI am delighted to have been asked to support the delivery of the Faculty’s introduction to public health course this Autumn. As a consultant that qualified to work via the defined specialist portfolio route with UKPHR, I am extremely encouraged that the FPH have given an opportunity to promote the portfolio as an alternative way of getting into senior public health roles. This is also very timely with the new UKPHR portfolio route that will come into place from September.

This course gives a good opportunity to those working, or considering working, in public health to gain an introductory understanding of the specialty and the other ways you can get into consultancy roles whether that be via the specialty registrar training or portfolio route.

Introducing information on the portfolio route comes as a result of feedback from the first introduction to public health workshop that was run last year. Many people were interested in understanding the range of routes into consultant roles and the course has been adapted to provide this. Not only will delegates get to gain new knowledge and (I hope) skills from the day-long workshop, they will also get a year’s associate membership with FPH which is a wonderful introduction to Faculty life.

I hope the course provides delegates with a balanced view of the options open to them to progress their careers. And I hope that delegates find my first-hand experience working through the UKPHR portfolio route and working as a consultant in local authority as useful and relevant as they decide their next steps.

Written by Steve Maddern, who is acting public health consultant at Wiltshire Council. He is responsible for the strategic delivery of service and programmes designed to influence behaviour change and improve health and wellbeing. Steve started his career in community pharmacy and has held a variety of public health roles at local, regional and national levels. He is registered with the UK Public Health Register and is a member of the Faculty of Public Health. You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevomadds.

To book your spot on FPH’s Introduction to Public Health course, which is taking place in Manchester on 23 October and London on 17 September, click here.

Read Full Post »

This is the second in a series of blogs written in appreciation of Dr Julian Tudor Hart who died on 1 July 2018. To read the post written by Prof Sir Andy Haines, click here.

Dr Julian Tudor Hart

In the book Health and Society in the Twentieth Century Wales, there is only one chapter devoted to an individual and that individual is Julian Tudor Hart putting him firmly in the lineage of other Welsh Giants in health care provision including:
• Lloyd George introduced the National Insurance Scheme
• Lady Emily Talbot endowed the first full time public health chair to usher in a new type of medicine – preventive medicine
• Aneurin Bevan introduced the NHS
• Archie Cochrane and Sir Ian Chalmers’ revolution in evidence-based medicine and the establishment of the world wide Cochrane Collaboration credited with preventing millions of deaths and disability

Julian Tudor Hart was a general practitioner and epidemiologist, as well as a passionate advocate for socialism, for progressive developments in the NHS and medicine in the community. In 2006 he was awarded the inaugural Discovery Prize by the RCGP ‘for capturing the imagination of GPs with his ground breaking work’.

Julian Tudor Hart studied medicine at Cambridge University and at St Georges Hospital Medical School followed by a few years in general practice in London.

In1960 he took a post as an epidemiologist at Archie Cochrane’s Medical Research Council unit, in Cardiff, working on the Rhondda Fach Survey. Archie regarded him as “one of a remarkable series of talented young men”. However, after completing one survey “meticulously” he decided to move back into primary care where he felt he could have a direct impact and bring about improvement to the lives of working people more immediately than by conducting research.

Despite his parents efforts to discourage him from studying medicine, he’d always had ambitions to be a GP in a coal mining community. His father had worked in 1934 in South Wales in a salaried medical post in Llanelli employed by the miners and tin plate union and who had represented south Wales Miners’ Federation in a dispute over medical care.

From 1961-87 he served as a GP in the uplands community of Glyn Corrwg in South Wales, a small mining village. Significantly, he not only provided medical care for his patients but also conducted extensive research and his practice was the first to be recognized as a research practice piloting many MRC studies.

In his practice of medicine he advocated the importance of the GP and the community health team carrying out work to identify problems at an early stage and with a crucial role in preventive medicine, to influence health behaviours on an individual and community level. Hart also developed ideas about the role of the medical practitioner in primary care and wrote a booked called ‘New Kind of Doctor’, and he was a keen advocate for departments of general practice in medical schools. As a result, he significantly influenced the new generation of doctors.

Between 1966 and 1986 Glyncorrwg experienced rising unemployment following the collapse of basic industries with a loss of its vigorous social, cultural, and commercial life. He observed that although health conditions generally were improving during the second half of the twentieth century the gap between the health experiences of people in the poorest and richest areas were widening. As such, he developed the ‘inverse care law’, which is the principle that the availability of the best and most comprehensive health services are concentrated in areas of relative affluence, and the poorest health services are concentrated in those areas of greatest need, where people find it harder to access health care.

Tudor Hart had a keen sense of commitment to an economically and socially deprived community and took a critical view of the commodification of the NHS. In his book ‘The Political Economy of Health Care’, he challenged policy makers to think critically about the values of our society in the UK and the future of health care services with a reminder that patients were both citizens and co-producers of health gain rather than consumers or customers as part of a continuum requiring a population health approach. These values are embedded in the Bevan Commission’s four principles of prudent health.

In the week of his death, we were celebrating the 70th anniversary of the NHS. At the same time, the Welsh Government published ‘A Healthier Wales: our plan for health and social care’. It sets out a long term whole systems approach, with distinctive values and culture. It focuses on health and wellbeing throughout life, preventing people getting ill and improving people’s health and tackling health inequalities as being key to sustainable development.

I would hope the plan would have been welcomed by Julian Tudor Hart as a continuation of the matters that he pursued throughout his whole professional career. It’s “a revolution from within”: an NHS that brings certainty and security, especially for people who needed it most everywhere according to need and not the ability to pay. And it meets the needs now and of future generations, recognising that treating people in hospital when they are ill is only a small part of modern health and social care.

After all, the list of Welsh Health Giants, including Julian Tudor Hart, should enable those charged with leading change today and in the future to rediscover the confidence and bold ambitions that made Wales a birthplace for some of the greatest ideas for health services in the world.

Written by John Wyn Owen CB FFPHM FLSW, Bevan Commissioner, Director NHS Cymru Wales 1984-1994

Read Full Post »

Me headshotA little over a year ago, I joined the policy & comms team at FPH with a modest knowledge of what public health is and the jobs that people working in the specialty involve. I wanted to learn as much as I could so I began by speaking to our members and asking them to explain what they do to me.

In the year since I joined FPH, I’ve met people who are achieving some truly incredible things in the UK and around the world. There’s the team in the East Midlands who, as winter approached, garnered the support of the local Red Cross and fire service and together, located a safe, warm place for homeless people to sleep. There are the teams that make sure that first responders and local communities are safe when a crisis happens, like the poisoning in Salisbury or recent terrorist attacks. And there are the people who undertake important, ground-breaking research to change the way we approach public health issues. These are just three examples; public health is so broad that it encompasses many other roles.

I wanted to find images that would bring all of this brilliance to life so a few months ago, I started hunting for photos for our new website. I wanted to celebrate public health and all the remarkable individuals that work in it.

I thought I’d be overwhelmed with choice but instead, I was disappointed with the results. From an image of a stethoscope with ‘public health’ spelt out in wooden blocks to a man in a white coat holding a globe, I was confused. Had I misspelt it? After more searching, I realised that public health imagery was at best, a sorry state of affairs and this has consequences. The fact no-one can find photos that truly represent public health has on a knock-on effect to the way it’s perceived. It means the public don’t understand what we do, decision-makers confuse public health with healthcare, and policy-makers sometimes overlook us despite the fact that we add a huge amount of value.

Image for blog

When I thought back to the people I’d met and the stories they’d told me, my mind conjured up many different images including: teams of people working together to keep others safe; people in haz-mat suits, the emergency services, academics, volunteers working in conflict zones; public health interventions like the smoking ban and pay-as-you-go bike schemes; public health challenges that communities work together to tackle like floods, fires and disease outbreaks.

So why weren’t these photos coming up in the results? All of this made me realise three things:

  1. The public health community needs to do more to celebrate itself – we know we have an incredible story to tell so we need to start sharing it
  2. We need to get better at explaining what people working in public health do and achieve in a simple way
  3. There’s a golden opportunity to achieve 1 and 2 by asking our members and other public health heroes to help us by taking photos of what they think ‘public health looks like’ through their eyes

That’s why we’ve launched a photo competition to do just that. We know that public health encompasses many kinds of people, professions and places so in a way, it’s not surprising that the photos in image libraries are so poor- public health is a behemoth but it’s one we’re immensely proud of! We know there’s a wealth of photos out there waiting to be taken so to help us tell a compelling story about public health, we want you to take them.

It’s an exciting opportunity for so many reasons, not least because the photos will be used on our new website which is the ‘shop window’ for public health. But in my mind, the most important reason to enter is this: you could help us change policy. We’ve already started campaigning for increased funding for public health teams in local authorities and prevention in the NHS but if we’re going to succeed, we – as the public health community – need to get better at demonstrating our value.

By taking a photo that represents what public health looks like to you, you’ll help us do just that because inspiring images will help us showcase how special it is. In turn, this will help to unite the wider health community to get behind the need to invest in public health, and will pique the interest of policy-makers.

So please enter our photo competition by clicking here and encourage work friends and people you know who are passionate about photography to do the same. If you’ve got any questions, you can tweet us @FPH or email photocomp@fph.org.uk. In the meantime, keep an eye on our Twitter page and blog for competition updates.

Written by Haidee O’Donnell, Senior Media & Comms Officer, FPH. 

Read Full Post »

cofEven though I’ve been a Public Health Registrar for 3 years, I confess I’d never really engaged with the Faculty of Public Health (FPH) — the body that designs and manages the public health training scheme — other than when I had to, e.g. when taking my exams. So when I saw an opportunity to complete some of my training with FPH on their ‘Public Health Funding Campaign’ I genuinely had no idea what this would involve. The project seemed noble: ‘making the case to the UK Government to increase spending on prevention.’ However, I must admit I was initially sceptical about what FPH could hope to achieve.

This changed when I saw the impact of the Brexit ‘Do No Harm’ campaign undertaken by my fellow registrars and FPH’s Policy & Communications team. Though the FPH team may be small in terms of capacity and resource, the amazing work carried out earlier this year to ensure that Brexit will ‘do no harm’ to the public’s health demonstrates what a committed team with an important public health cause can achieve.

FPH’s Public Health Funding campaign is focusing on three main areas of relevance to public health system funding: innovation and transformation funding for local authority public health teams, prevention in the NHS, and a new dashboard for measuring public health outcomes. I have been appointed to take the lead on the ‘prevention in the NHS’ work stream.

This project appealed to me for several reasons. Firstly, this work is about national policy making, whereas many of our other training placements have a local focus so for me, it’s great experience that I struggled to find elsewhere.

Secondly, there couldn’t be a better time for those of us in public health to start thinking seriously about what the NHS can do to better deliver prevention. As Theresa May outlined in her recent speech on the NHS budget, prevention will be a priority area for the NHS’s long-term plan. The Prime Minister was right when she said that “a renewed focus on prevention will reduce pressures on the NHS,” and the opportunity to potentially contribute to that effort and help the NHS better define its prevention role for its next 70 years doesn’t come around that often.

And thirdly, it’s a project I genuinely believe in. For some, ‘the money’ bit of public health may not be as interesting as the ‘service delivery’ or ‘wider determinants’ bits. But to me — and clearly to the FPH senior fellows who chose this project topic — properly resourcing our public health teams is paramount if we are to achieve all of our aspirations for the health and wellbeing of the public.

And there are worrying trends. With the ring fence due to be removed from the public health grant in just a few short years, commitment to invest in public health for the future is no sure thing. Worryingly, nearly 75% of FPH members who work in local authorities have told us that they don’t have enough resource to deliver all that is being asked of them. At a time when we have rising rates of non-communicable disease and an ageing population, preventing illness should be a priority reflected on the bottom line. It’s prudent both financially and for the health of the population.

Evidence shows that spending less money on prevention costs the NHS and other public services more in the long term. As a UK taxpayer, I want to know where all this money is being spent and whether it is being used wisely. As a future public health consultant, I want to make sure this money is spent on evidence-based and cost-effective measures to maximise public health. Hopefully by the end of my project with FPH next June, I’ll be able to say that I contributed to those above aims.

In the meantime, I am already enjoying working with a fantastic team on a project full of opportunities to develop myself and hopefully benefit the public’s health. Please stay tuned to the FPH blog and follow FPH on Twitter to hear more about my and the team’s progress. If you wish to comment, contribute, or donate to the campaign please contact policy@fph.org.uk or visit the public health funding page of the FPH website by clicking here.

Written by Ahmed Razavi, Specialty Registrar in Public Health.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »