Weekly News 7th February 2014

The views of public health teams working in local authorities

This report follows on from three previous reports that provided a snapshot of the development of the health improvement workforce in England in 2011, 2012 and 2013 (available at http://www.rsph.org.uk). These studies highlighted the challenges associated with ensuring that staff have the necessary skills, knowledge and  competence to promote health and wellbeing regardless of which setting they work in or who employs them. They argued for the integration of the workforce across public health, the NHS and adult social care as well as the need for making public health improvement ‘everyone’s business’, all of which, we would argue, remain key to improving the public’s health. As the 1st April 2013 drew closer, last year’s report highlighted the challenges and opportunities posed by the move of public health departments from the NHS into local authorities in England from the workforce’s perspective.

Previous reports were all written in anticipation of the move of public health departments into local authorities, and this is the first that can start to question how the vision of localism is working out in practice. This year we have chosen to focus on the public health teams working within local authorities and who have to put the case for  investment in health improvement to their local health and wellbeing boards. We seek to undercover whether the opportunities for improving the public’s health offered by the transition are being realised, what challenges are being experienced, and also to gain an insight into the current environment for public health within local authorities.

This report draws on data from a series of focus groups held in the last quarter of 2013, along with in depth interviews and a survey of public health professionals working within local authorities across all regions of England (n=261).

The respondents included a broad range of the public health workforce, including directors of public health, consultants in public health, public health specialists and health improvement practitioners. One of the clearest conclusions was the heterogeneity of experiences. No two local authority environments are the same, each combining different personalities, cultures, organisational structures and histories. At the same time, common, reoccurring themes were identified. These themes are explored through the body of the report.

Click here to read the report in full.

Recruitment update

Recruitment Position

Spreading the word more widely – sharing practice

Chief executive ‘walking the streets’ of Peterborough

The recently appointment chief executive of CPFT, Aiden Thomas spent the day with the health visiting service getting a feel for the day to day work. He accompanied a central team health visitor on a visit to a deaf family from Eastern Europe where he observed the ‘Universal plus’ service in action by trying to help this vulnerable family integrate into their local community and provide their hearing child the best start.

He then moved into the North of the city where he joined a health visitor on an Antenatal visit and witnessed the use of the ‘Promotional guides’ in the form of a guided conversation to ascertain information about the strengths, needs and risks to the unborn baby.

And finally he finished his experience in the South of the city where he accompanied a health visitor on several home visits offering emotional support to parents and behavioural advice for the children.
Each health visitor he spent time with enjoyed the opportunity to raise issues and share best practice in their area and all report it was a positive experience and they felt listened to and valued by Aiden.

Aiden himself expressed his thanks for the opportunity and gave recognition for the good work being done.

For more information please contact:

Jennie MacPhee (jennie.macphee@nhs.net)
Health visitor


Child and Maternal Health Knowledge Update – 7th February 2014

To access this weekly bulletin highlighting the latest news, events, reports, research and other resources relating to children, young people’s and maternal health please use the link below.



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