Supporting the Wider Public Health Workforce
Monday, 7 August 2023
Supporting the Wider Public Health Workforce
RSPH has over 150 years' experience in championing and supporting the wider public health workforce through education, training, and research.
A skilled and well-trained workforce is essential for better public health, and one of the key commitments in our 2022-2027 Strategic Plan is to identify the needs of the wider workforce, where we can build on our support for them and what policy calls we can make on their behalf.
This year, in the build-up to Public Health Workforce Week (2nd- 6th October), we’re engaging further with the wider public health workforce to gather insight into the challenges they face, and the solutions needed to support them.
Definition of Wider Public Health Workforce:
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.”
This is our working mission statement on supporting the public health workforce:
“By 2035 there will be a clearly defined wider public health workforce that has accessible professional pathways and standards to support career development, help to secure better paid work, and demonstrate contribution to large scale health prevention, protection, and improvement.
Anyone working within the wider public health workforce should be able to be recognised as a person with public health skills, to understand the routes they have to develop their skill, competency, and career and recognise the impact that they can have on public health and wellbeing.
We want the public health system to appreciate the wider workforce, but we also want the workforce to genuinely feel like they are part of public health so both they and the public health system understand the impact they are having. We want people to develop and grow into public health roles whilst also using these pathways to lift people out of poverty and address longstanding inequalities.
RSPH has a clear role in this to help define, develop, and recognise the wider public health workforce.” (Working RSPH mission statement on supporting the public health workforce, 2023)
Throughout 2023, RSPH will be carrying out engagement to gather insight from the public health sector - including through hearing directly from the wider workforce, working with stakeholders and existing professional groups - to:
- Gather evidence and stories from the wider workforce– with a focus on the diversity and impact of the work they do.
- Raise awareness of who the wider public health workforce are, and their valuable contribution to the health of the nation (who, what, how...)
- Raise awareness of existing support for the wider workforce, including qualifications, training and community public health programmes, and where further practical support is needed.
- Development and launch of comprehensive education pathways for the wider workforce, supporting people into public health careers and providing clarity on career progression.
- Demonstrate that we are an authoritative and credible voice for the wider public health workforce.
Engaging with the wider public health workforce
Our approach to engagement will be wide-reaching, capturing the experiences and needs of the workforce alongside a detailed picture of the systems they work in.
In order to gather the experiences and concerns of the wider public health workforce (many of whom may not currently consider themselves as delivering public health), we will use a range of methods including surveys, engagement events, focus groups and by tapping into existing networks. Alongside this, we will also highlight the wide range of people who make up this workforce, their career paths and impact they have had on public health through a series of blogs and championing through our networks.
Public Health Workforce Week 2023 (2nd-6th October)
RSPH’s first workforce week (2022) was an opportunity to showcase the impact the wider public health workforce has, learning about the challenges they face, and the solutions needed.
This year we will be expanding the scope and impact of the week and offer opportunities to discuss and reflect on insight from the engagement activity. In addition, we will consider what further structured career development support can be offered and where governments could be doing more to improve public health through this workforce.
How you can support this work:
There are a number of ways stakeholders can support this work including:
- Respond and share our survey with your networks (RSPH can provide you with information, including a social media pack to help). More information can be accessed on our website here (Wider Public Health Workforce 2023 Engagement).
- We’d really value gathering insight from networks, groups and organisations who represent or include the wider public health workforce. If you are interested, please contact us.
- Telling us about the public health services or support you deliver and any work you are doing to support the wider public health workforce.
For more information or if you’d like to talk to us, please send an email to the RSPH Policy team at: firstname.lastname@example.org