The report and accompanying toolkit were developed in close collaboration with representative bodies and individuals working in the professional groups which they are aimed at, specifically nurses and midwives, Allied Health Professionals, pharmacy and dental staff. The report was also informed by a national survey of healthcare professionals and input from an expert advisory group.
The findings from the survey showed that the majority (70%) believe protecting and promoting the public’s health is important. Despite this fewer than 1 in 5 (19%) currently measure the public health impact of their day-to-day work. The main barriers to collecting, recording and collating data from public health interventions included time, capacity and training.
Based on the public health priorities identified by PHE’s All Our Health framework including obesity, alcohol and smoking, the toolkit provides healthcare professionals with a means to record and collate their work so that it makes an impact:
- Do – focuses on the brief intervention a healthcare professional might undertake with their patient or client, such as signposting to relevant services
- Record – this relates to what information the healthcare professional would record, such as categorising a referral and recording measurements, such as BMI
- Collate – is about capturing the data over a period of time for multiple individuals
- Impact – brings all of this together and captures the likely impact their service is having in a local area, as well as the national public health priorities that these interventions will impact upon
Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of RSPH and Chair of the Government’s Advisory Group, People in UK Public Health, welcomed the toolkit: “It is very clear that the healthcare workforce already has a positive impact on the public’s health through their everyday interactions with patients. Our hope is that this resource will provide healthcare professionals with simple, quick and effective guidelines for recording and measuring the impact of their activities on the public’s health. This will be invaluable in better understanding and demonstrating to commissioners and others the huge potential which exists to improve and protect the public’s health through brief interventions such as signposting.”
Linda Hindle, PHE’s Lead Allied Health Professional, said: “Allied Health Professionals regularly provide public health support and advice as ‘part of the job’ and this toolkit helps them record and measure their public health contribution in identifying health inequalities and ultimately in preventing early deaths.”
Viv Bennett, PHE’s Chief Nurse, said: “All health and care professionals play a vital role in encouraging and supporting people to care for their own health and wellbeing. Nurses and midwives are developing their practice and services that promote and protect health and wellbeing. This toolkit will enable them to record and measure the public health impact of care provided to individuals’ families and communities.”
Gul Root, PHE’s Lead Public Health Pharmacist, said: “Community pharmacy teams play a vital role in supporting people to look after their health and regularly provide timely health promoting support and advice. This is often seen as being part of their everyday practice so this toolkit will help them document and measure their invaluable contribution to improving the nation’s health.”
Helen Donovan, Professional Lead for Public Health Nursing at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Health professionals are good at having these conversations, but we are less good at recording them. Measuring our interactions effectively is important - it allows us to determine the impact we have on patients’ choices, and continue to improve our approaches.
“Nurses are key to this because they are involved directly with patients in so many areas of healthcare, from smoking to obesity. They are able to increase awareness and improve outcomes. Alongside the report, this toolkit provides a quick and easy way to start recording data that we hope will ultimately benefit patients.”