Tag Archives: Public Health

Directors of public health as ‘a protected species’: qualitative study of the changing role of public health professionals in England following the 2013 reforms

Jehu, L.M. et al. Journal of Public Health, https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdx154

Published: 07 November 2017

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Background

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 gave councils in England responsibility for improving the health of their populations. Public health teams were transferred from the National Health Service (NHS), accompanied by a ring-fenced public health grant. This study examines the changing role of these teams within local government.

Methods

In-depth case study research was conducted within 10 heterogeneous councils. Initial interviews (n = 90) were carried out between October 2015 and March 2016, with follow-up interviews (n = 21) 12 months later. Interviewees included elected members, directors of public health (DsPH) and other local authority officers, plus representatives from NHS commissioners, the voluntary sector and Healthwatch.

Results

Councils welcomed the contribution of public health professionals, but this was balanced against competing demands for financial resources and democratic leverage. DsPH—seen by some as a ‘protected species’—were relying increasingly on negotiating and networking skills to fulfil their role. Both the development of the existing specialist public health workforce and recruitment to, and development of, the future workforce were uncertain. This poses both threats and opportunities.

Conclusions

Currently the need for staff to retain specialist skills and maintain UKPH registration is respected. However, action is needed to address how future public health professionals operating within local government will be recruited and developed.

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Public health transformation three years on: extending influence to promote health and wellbeing

By Local Government Association (2016)

This compilation of case studies shows how local authorities continue to make progress on improving health and wellbeing and tackling health inequalities since public health was formally transferred from the NHS in April 2013. These case studies were chosen because they show a range of ways in which public health in councils is approaching its new roles. They include councils spread across England, covering both rural and urban environments and with varying degrees of deprivation and affluence.

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What stakeholders think of Public Health England

By Ipsos MORI Social research Institute (2015)

A summary of findings.

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