Kiran Kenth, Director of National and Regional Programmes at RSPH

Kiran Kenth, Director of National and Regional Programmes at RSPH, describes some of the recent developments that organisations from the wider workforce are undertaking around public health. 

In September we saw recent analysis by the Labour party showing that this year government cuts are forcing 85% of councils around the country to drastically reduce their spending on critical public health services such as smoking cessation. Once again, councils are driven to cut the quality and quantity of much needed services which in turn we know will jeopardise even further the health of the communities we all serve.

At RSPH we have expressed serious concern and we are advocating for appropriate funding for public health which supports prevention and saves our already struggling NHS, and the whole government purse, millions of pounds every year.  

In these times of austerity we will also continue advocating with health and social care budget holders for exploring new and creative ways of using ever so little funding in the most efficient and effective ways. One mechanism we champion is to capitalise on the expertise, capabilities and resources of the wider workforce to meet public health needs whilst integrating health in the wider system and saving money.

Examples of this type of collaboration are already happening in many parts of the country, a really interesting one we have recently come across is the Community Safety Hubs in North Yorkshire. Here public health teams in councils, the police, housing providers and the NHS have come together to tackle a wide variety of community issues on a daily basis – for example noise nuisance, neighbour disputes, vandalism, victimisation, housing disrepair, hate crime – all requiring a multi-agency approach in both prevention and response.

Their early evaluation results have found a small but statistically significant reduction in antisocial behaviour and crime in the areas where the hubs are running. Their results have also demonstrated that such partnership faces management and inter-agency coordination challenges but it is expected to achieve important social and health outcomes that in turn will reduce demand of services.

These findings are in line with the 2009 Home Office evidence review suggesting that the principle of applying partnership working as a component of initiatives to tackle complex crime and disorder problems is effective. 

For more information about this work and more, please check out the interventions section of the Emergency Services Hub which has been recently updated with more case studies.

Finally, I would like to bring your attention to the 2018 RSPH Health and Wellbeing Award Winners. This year, a small pharmacy team in Dudley, The Priory Community Pharmacy, won the Community Health Development category and demonstrated to Public Health leaders and stakeholders how health promotion is delivered through a community pharmacy approach. 

Congratulations to The Priory team and we look forward to working with you in the future!