As with all public health organisations, we remain focused on how we can support the UK to move beyond the pandemic. This month, as the success of the UK Covid-19 vaccine rollout continues, we are proud to have played a part in helping to boost vaccine confidence through two animated videos for World Immunisation Week, explaining how vaccines work and how to spot misinformation. Within the team, our vaccine projects are focused on using the learnings from the Covid-19 vaccine programme to help local public health teams to improve vaccine uptake within their communities.

The Gambling Health Alliance is leading campaigning activities to demonstrate how we can collectively take a public health approach to gambling reform. With the upcoming White Paper (outlining the potential changes to the Gambling Act Review) due to be released over the coming months, there are real opportunities for us to inform next steps in order to protect the public. We have a series of considered recommendations for the White Paper, including restrictions to the placement and prevalence of gambling adverts and a £2 limit for online slot machines (in line with the Fixed Odds Betting Terminal maximum bet amount). We’re also continuing our collaboration with gambling health awareness charity, Gambling With Lives. The project advisory group have recently met to review research questions to be sent to the public and to experts by experience in order to assess perspectives on the extent of the harms that gambling products cause to the public’s health. Look out for more on this over the summer.

Our healthy environments work with Walsall Council continues – we have conducted an analysis of the healthiness of their high street, using the Richter scale for health, and identified particular weaknesses and strengthens. Alongside the Council and utilising their existing plans, we produced a briefing to take to local stakeholders and experts in the fields of green and blue space, active travel, retail and business, healthcare services, community assets and arts and culture. We interviewed those experts on how environments could be improved and are providing a report with recommendations to form part of ongoing regeneration work.

A feature of many high streets are tattoo and beauty parlours, and recently we co-signed a letter with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health calling for a national licensing scheme for cosmetic treatment practitioners and guidance on mandatory training to prevent infections.   

Allied Health Professionals play an important role in the public health workforce, with opportunities to improve the public’s health, prevent premature mortality and reduce health inequalities. Their specialist expertise can also enhance the service of organisations serving the public’s health, from local councils to micro-charities. We are proud to lead the placement project to help AHP students find placement opportunities in public health settings, and supports organisations which have not previously offered placements to AHP students or which are looking to offer additional placements to those they already offer. If you are an Allied Health Professional student looking for a placement, or if you could offer a student a placement, please do visit the Match Place website to find out more. This project is the first of its kind for the Allied Health Professions, a sector that has around 152,000 people working across a range of health and social settings. We can’t wait to see the next generation of AHPs using the platform to develop their skills and expand their networks.

As part of the DHSC led Population Health Improvement Stakeholder Advisory Group, we have a role in using RSPH insights and evidence to influence future arrangements for prevention and health improvement. We have submitted our response to the consultation on the reforms to the public health system and will continue to be involved in discussions as part of the advisory group, on plans for the UK Health Security Agency, the Office of Health Promotion, and the Ministerial Board on Prevention.

Finally, we launched a new series of webinars on 12th May – RSPH Sparks Debates. The first in this series featured Chris Whitty, England CMO, giving his perspectives on the role of the state in public health. The event was sold out and feedback received was wholly positive including one response of ‘Rarely am I motivated enough to send comments these days, however todays webinar was splendid. Prof Whitty is an exemplary speaker and delivers the message so clearly. The talk was factual and unbiased, provocative and entertaining. Congratulations on such a well delivered and educational event. One thing this pandemic has improved is education and accessibility - bravo!’ This is available to watch on our website if you missed it and our next webinar in our RSPH Sparks Debates series is taking place on June 2nd, 1PM – 2PM. The webinar will be covering The Future of Public Health Systems and you can register for your free ticket on Eventbrite. Future sessions will be shared on our website and social media channels so do join us.