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Archive for the ‘funding’ Category

By John Middleton, FPH President

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I wanted to let you all know about the progress we’ve been making with our two flagship influencing projects and to ask you, our FPH members, for help.

You may recall that in June last year I let you know that we had decided to focus the efforts of our small, but perfectly formed, Policy and Campaigns Team on two vital public health priorities – Brexit and Public Health Funding.

This followed a significant policy consultation and prioritisation process with our members through the first half of 2017.

Before I tell you where we’ve got to with these two campaigns it might be helpful to remind you that these two issues aren’t the only two policy areas FPH is working on. We also have five policy committees and 30 (and growing) Special Interest Groups all developing and shaping policy and making the case for a very broad range of public health issues.

In terms of the Brexit and Public Health Funding projects, since June last year we’ve done a number of things in order to be ready to start campaigning at the beginning of 2018.

We’ve talked with a range of different public health stakeholders – including the Public Health Minister, Steve Brine MP – to find out where they thought we should focus our efforts within these two large policy areas. Through this consultation process we drew up ‘long lists’ of possible policy asks.

We’ve also created two campaign project groups, made up of staff and – for the first time – specialty registrars on placement at FPH. As well as giving us more capacity to deliver both campaigns, we’re keen that these projects provide an opportunity for our public health trainees to learn about, and play a vital part in, campaigning for policy change at a national level.

We’ve also created two Advisory Boards of senior FPH members – one for each campaign – to ensure we’re able to draw from the vast expertise we have on both these issues. I won’t embarrass the Board members by highlighting particular people but trust me when I say that both Boards are packed with very senior, experienced FPH folk.

The Advisory Boards met in November and December and shortlisted three policy asks for each campaign. I’m very pleased to announce they are:

For Brexit:

1. We are calling on the UK Government to introduce a ‘do no harm’ clause into the EU Withdrawal Bill – with the effect that the Government commits to ensure that the Bill’s powers are not used to reverse or amend regulations critical to the health of the population.

2. We are calling on the UK Government to ensure the UK’s future relationship with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control – we think it is vital that we can continue to work in close partnership with our European partners to tackle serious cross-border threats to health security, e.g. blood borne viruses, pandemic influenza, viral haemorrhagic fevers, and chemical and radiation incidents. In so doing, we will provide a model for the UK as it considers how to continue to play a significant role in other EU public health agencies.

3. We will be calling on the UK Government to ensure that the impact on the public’s health is a vital determinant in our post-Brexit trade agreements – we will develop with the public health community a set of evidence-based public health principles for negotiating ‘healthy’ trade agreements. We will call on the UK Government to adopt these principles as it negotiates our future trading arrangements.

For the Public Health Funding campaign:

1. We are calling on the UK Government to invest in a public health ‘transformation and innovation fund’ to support the upgrading of prevention and population health services in local authorities – FPH members are telling us that they have gone to heroic lengths to deliver more with less and less but they cannot make the ‘radical upgrade’ in prevention services asked of them without additional dedicated funding. This is needed to enable their teams to make the step change in the types of services they provide and how they provide them. We think this fund will need to be in the region of an extra £1bn per year but the exact figure will be determined during the policy development phase.

2. We are calling on national governments to conduct a review into NHS spending on public health and prevention – our aim is to ensure that the approximately £2 billion spent in England annually on prevention and public health services ‘in the NHS’ is spent appropriately and as effectively as possible. We’ll also be looking at what an increased funding settlement for prevention in the NHS might look like in order to help deliver the radical upgrade. As part of this we will be encouraging STPs to focus more on the prevention agenda.

3. We are calling on Public Health England, and other relevant national bodies, to develop an improved ‘dashboard’ for public health services – we want to ensure updated dashboards include what our members think are the key public health performance metrics and indicators. We hope this dashboard will enable the public health community to agree what a ‘good’ public health service looks like, where it is occurring, and to further encourage the sharing of best practice between different areas and sector-led improvement.

Over December and January both campaign project groups have been pulling together their campaign plans for the first year of what will be three-year long campaigns.

These plans have now been signed-off by our Advisory Boards and, as a consequence, I’m delighted to say that at the end of January the Brexit campaign took its first steps and started to make the case to Peers in the House of Lords for our ‘do no harm’ amendment.

It’s been incredibly exciting to be so closely involved in the journey FPH has been on over the past year to get us to this stage and there’s an awful lot of campaigning activity to follow in 2018 and beyond.

And that’s where you come in!

We’re looking to create informal networks of FPH members who are particularly interested in Brexit or Public Health Funding (or both) who we can involve in each campaign on a regular basis.

The kinds of things we’d be looking for you to help with are:

  • Asking for your views as we’re developing our policy thinking – i.e. acting as an informal sounding board as we’re testing our draft ideas and thinking, so that we can be confident that what we end up saying in public and to governments is closely informed by what our members think.
  • Helping us decide which campaign messaging works best – eg. which messages do you think are most inspiring? which messages are likely to play best with local and national decision-makers? which hashtag do you like most? We want to know what you think.
  • Championing our campaigns on social media – eg. retweeting and commenting positively about tweets FPH sends out and saying supportive things about our campaigns on other social media.
  • Speaking up at conferences and events you’re attending – to highlight the importance of these issues and our specific asks.
  • Responding to questionnaires and surveys we will be doing throughout the campaign.
  • Introducing us to your networks – if you play Canasta with Philip Hammond, table tennis with Jeremy Hunt, or go paint-balling with Jeremy Corbyn then please do let us know.

If you’d like to find out more, then please email our Policy and Campaigns Team via policy@fph.org.uk and tell us which campaign you’d like to get involved in.

Thank you so much in advance for your help and watch this space for future updates on both campaigns. We’ll be updating you very soon on our Brexit activities so far in the Lords.

 

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