19 May, 2016

activematters response | Fit for the future: public health people

Public Health England (PHE) publishes a review of the public health workforce future capabilities and skills | May 19 2015 

The review ignores the key questions:

  • the key challenges facing Public Health People now – obesity, mental health and physical inactivity!
  • why does it not include Early Years educators (practitioners, child minders and nursery staff)
  • are parents – not part of the Public Health People – when it comes to children
  • what are the drivers, measures and training required that will influence the way the workforce will need to develop – education and educators – not just another ‘marketing campaign’
  • what does this mean in terms of the future composition of the workforce, and the skills and capabilities needed? More importantly – who and how are these people trained or up-skilled, evaluated and monitored. More importantly – who is going to fund the required training
  • how should the public health system (and education) respond nationally and locally to prepare a workforce that is fit for the future
    • Why is the division between health and education being maintained

Good public health work of the future will mean that education and training are key drivers:

  1. People (parents and carers, teachers and practitioners) are more engaged with their own health; there is a stronger social movement to value and promote health and wellbeing – this engagement needs to be reinforced and developed when it comes to children, parents, carers, child-minders, practitioners and nursery staff!
  2. Education with regard to Public Health is championed and delivered through a wider range of engaged partners including business and communities – a setting-based, practitioner/teacher/community-centred approach, with decision-making at local level, is key to this
  3. How are the CMO guidelines going to be delivered upon other than public ‘advertising’ campaigns – which have been ineffective in real and measurable terms!
  4. Health and educational inequalities and trends in current burdens of disease (obesity, mental and physical inactivity) and their risk factors are reducing, with greater understanding of the causes of ill-health, obesity and lack of physical activity
  5. Research and development is required to combat the key issues of obesity, mental health and lack of physical activity in children
  6. Public health and education leadership at the parental, setting, local and national level remains strong, with directors of public health and education drawn from a variety of backgrounds!

PHE | Fit for the future