Blogs

The PHPN North West blog provides updates, opinion pieces on a regular but intermittent basis. Members are particularly encouraged to contribute so if you are interested in writing a blog for our website then please get in touch with us for further details on phpn.northwest@hee.nhs.uk using the attached guide. Please note that the PHPN reserves the right to reject any submissions deemed to be incompatible with PHPN’s mission or policy positions.

The NWPHPN guest blog spot will provide opinion pieces on all matters relating to public health work and practice. We hope to attract bloggers at all levels of public health practice and from across a broad range of specialities, settings and work areas.
The purpose of the guest blog spot is primarily to stimulate discussion on prevention, preventive healthcare practice and to share our combined expertise and views.
We will focus on North West contributors but will seek national views where relevant and appropriate.
Network members are particularly encouraged to contribute – if you are interested in submitting a blog for publication on our website please get in touch at phpn.northwest@hee.nhs.uk.

May 2021 Blogspot - Superintendent Justin Srivastava, Lancashire Constabulary

 

I remember back in 2012, when I was working in Blackburn being told by public health colleagues that the future of policing needs better policing activity around Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and public health approaches. How right they were, little did I know that 9 years later the Lancashire Violence Reduction Network (LVRN) and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) would be hosting a four-nations five-day webinar on the same approaches with an amazing @WeCops debate on the Wednesday night. Only a few months before we had been asked by the Home Office to be the lead Violence Reduction Unit on trauma informed and public health approaches and combining our expertise with the webinar seemed to make a lot of sense.

The energy, enthusiasm and dedication to public health approaches has been astounding. I have been overwhelmed by the contributions from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and what we originally planned as a two day webinar quickly became a five day event with 65 speakers, 1700 participants and excellent content from front line leaders and practitioners including national and international policy makers or influencers.

On Wednesday the 10th February 2021, CC Andy Rhodes and I hosted the “WeCops” debate on Public Health approaches in policing. We were really keen to get as many different views and thoughts from across the four nations and beyond. We weren’t disappointed - some of the questions that were posed are often echoed in other forums and meetings- What do you mean by a public health approach to policing? Is it relevant to law enforcement? Are we just doing the job of other agencies? In 2018, the National Police Chiefs Council, College of Policing and Public Health England tried to answer that particular “exam question” when they published “What is a Public Health approach in policing?”

In that document the public health approach is broken down into five key areas Data, Prevention, Partnership, Population and dealing with the “Causes of the Causes”.   In many ways this has a lot of synergy with the original Peelian principles of policing namely that the goal is preventing crime and thus earning public support not solely catching criminals. All of us in our careers have experienced the need to deal with vulnerable members of our community and for some at 2am in the morning the police are a telephone call of choice. This was supported by the College of Policing in 2015 when they highlighted that the majority of our police demand and deployment isn’t crime related - a picture that is probably recognisable to all colleagues from Cornwall to Newcastle. Thus, if we are having to deploy to non-crime matters maybe, adopting a public health approach isn’t a “nice to have” but more of an operational necessity?

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February 2021 Blogspot - Behavioural and social sciences in population health and prevention Professor Lucie Byrne-Davis, Health Psychologist and Professor of Health Psychology, University of Manchester

 

Lucie Byrne-Davis, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Twitter: @luciebd)

 

In 2018, Public Health England published a strategy for the inclusion of behavioural and social sciences in public health. Many people have written about the need for taking a biopsychosocial approach to health of the population, none more so than the Behavioural Science and Public Health Network, so it was welcome and fitting when the BSPHN became a core part of the implementation of the PHE strategy across the regions of the NHS in England. In the North West, we established a steering group, leveraging the expertise of the BSPHN, to create some momentum around its implementation and then, of course, Covid-19 hit. Not to be deterred, those of us passionate about the importance of the increased use of behavioural and social sciences, maybe even more so since behaviour is an important weapon in our arsenal against Covid-19, switched from our planned events to webinars, and our work is ongoing. Despite all the activity and the commitment of trail blazers across the country, there is still a paradox which is that health psychologists, one of the main professional groups who are ‘oven-ready’ to begin working in public health teams, have vanishingly few training places and employment opportunities within public health.

I am a health psychologist and professor of health psychology, as well as being the chair elect of the Division of Health Psychology of the British Psychological Society. Our committee has had as a focus for perhaps the last 20 years on increasing the opportunities for training and employment within public health and health and social care. It is fascinating to reflect on why that might be and what might be done to change it.

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January 2021 Blogspot - 'Personal reflections of the Chief Executive of a public health regulator' - David Kidney, Chief Executive of UK Public Health Register

When I was a boy, living in a council house in Stoke on Trent with my parents and my three brothers, I did dream. I wanted to be in Parliament, even though a political career seemed unlikely. Yet I made it and had the honour to represent Stafford constituency for 13 years until 2010. As an MP, I saw how Ministers sometimes went for the headline of a reorganisation of a service rather than put in place the foundations for long-lasting improvement. I was only a Minister for one year – but  when I got to the Department for the Environment and Climate Change, I definitely planned long term all the same.

It was my electoral defeat that set me on one last career, this time in public health. In total, I have managed the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) for seven years. When I started, UKPHR was set to be a victim of – yes – a Minister’s reorganisation! Over two years, I lobbied hard, and successfully, for UKPHR to survive the proposed changes to regulation of health professionals.

We have come a long way since then. A voluntary register, first set up to record the public health competence of public health specialists who were not medics, has grown to be all-encompassing. Today, we register:

  • Public health specialists who complete the Public Health Specialty Training Programme
  • Public health specialists who complete the retrospective portfolio assessment route
  • Public health specialists regulated by the General Medical Council (GMC) and on its Public Health Specialist register who want to be dually registered
  • Public health specialists regulated by the General Dental Council (GDC) and on its Dental Public Health List who want to be dually registered
  • Specialty Registrars while they are on the Training Programme
  • Public health practitioners who complete the retrospective portfolio assessment route (administered locally under our devolved arrangements with a network of local schemes covering the UK).

Our Board has also agreed to create a new route to registration as a public health practitioner for those who successfully complete the Level 6 (Integrated Degree) Public Health Apprenticeship.

As a voluntary register, we cannot rely on legal compulsion to attract registrants. In the case of specialists, however, public health employers require registration with UKPHR or GMC or GDC. As I plan for my retirement in 2021, UKPHR is part-way through a campaign to engage with those same employers to ask them also to require registration in respect of practitioners in their workforce.

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