This week RSPH are proud to celebrate the second annual Public Health Workforce Week, giving us all the opportunity to raise awareness of the crucial work of the whole public health workforce, their incredible achievements, and tireless contribution to our health and wellbeing. Through challenging circumstances, the public health workforce continues to deliver services to diverse communities across the UK.
This week marks the second annual Public Health Workforce week, and an opportunity to celebrate all the amazing work the public health workforce does. The public health workforce has a unique and crucial role in the prevention of illness and tackling health inequalities, and it’s heartening to see how much the public value this workforce and see them as so important to the health of future generations.
“The public health workforce keeps us healthy and safe. We know that many of these professionals, from cleaners to pest controllers, to school nurses and emergency planners that are under pressure and need support to deliver. Collectively we need to do more to ensure their work is recognised, they are supported to develop as professionals, and there is adequate investment so they can continue to deliver and keep us all healthy and safe. The public are strongly supportive of investment in the public health workforce and we would urge governments to invest in tackling the causes of poor health and creating a more prosperous society.”
William Roberts, Chief Executive of RSPH
New polling for RSPH, conducted by Yonder has found that the majority of the public (85%) think there must be sufficient funding for public health workers, so they are not burnt out. Most people (82%) also think that the public health workforce is crucial to safeguarding the nation’s health.
The public health workforce understands the challenges the communities they work with face and are key in tackling health inequalities. 83% of the public think there should be a greater focus on tackling the causes of poor health and 70% are concerned about the health of future generations if there isn’t greater investment in public health.
This year RSPH are focussing on the wider public health workforce and the challenges they face around recognition, training and career progression, and what we can all do to further support them. Our working definition of the Wider Public Health Workforce is “Any individual who is not a specialist or practitioner in public health but has the opportunity or ability to positively impact health and wellbeing through their work.”
We also know that the public health workforce, as a whole, continues to face many challenges. Resources are over-stretched, and this is impacting on staff wellbeing and ability to deliver services and plan for the future. In addition, the public health system was under extreme pressure post-pandemic and has faced additional stress due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis which has led to growing poverty and increased inequalities.
RSPH would like to invite everyone to get involved and help us to celebrate Public Health Workforce Week. As part of our commitment to this work, tomorrow (3rd Oct) RSPH will be publishing our priorities for supporting the wider public health workforce and on Wednesday (4th Oct) we will be launching our educational pathway.
This will also be the final week to fill out our Wider Public Health Workforce survey, we want to hear about your role as a member of the wider public health workforce, the challenges you face and how we can support the workforce.
We will be communicating the outcomes from the survey and other engagement work over the coming months and setting out our recommendations and solutions to supporting the workforce. RSPH are committed to supporting the public health workforce and we’ll continue to engage with the sector in its widest sense.
Are you part of the public health workforce and would like to become an RSPH member?
Our membership benefits include access to peer-reviewed journals, online courses and events. As part of the celebration of the amazing work the public health workforce delivers, we are offering to waive the joining fee for all members of the public health workforce who join us during Public Health Workforce Week. Use code PHWRSPHOCT23 when applying.