Health CommitteeWritten evidence from the Department of Public Health, Liverpool Primary Care Trust (ETWP 82)

Summary

There is a need for greater clarity on the education and training routes Public Health England may negotiate within the new landscape for the specialist public health workforce transferring to local authorities, or how the local public health workforce will be maintained at the level required to deliver on its responsibilities.

How the public health workforce will be affected

1. The public health workforce in its widest sense will encompass anyone receiving healthcare or social care training in as much as it is vital that the principles of population health, health improvement and the reduction of health inequalities should form an element of the basic curriculum.

2. The public health workforce that has registration either through the medical, dental and non medical professional training programme or registration through a recognised voluntary assessment process, must retain registration through appropriate continuing professional development and revalidation.

3. Where public health workers are to be employed by local authorities, the evaluation of job roles undertaken in the NHS should not be devalued because there are no equivalent elements within local authority roles.

4. The only public health role that is to pass to the local authority that has any defined link with Public Health England is that of the Director of Public Health. If PHE is to negotiate on education and training for public health in partnership with HEE then its relationship with public health workers in local authorities, universities etc, must be clarified and a dialogue set up to allow input from those workers.

5. There has been recent developing recognition of “practitioner” status for public health workers who have measurable public health skills but are not at ‘specialist’ level. This needs to be further developed and supported through education and training. However, it is currently unclear how entry can be made to the public health field for workers outside the professional training programme, and especially within local authorities. There is a danger that the existing dedicated public health workforce will not be replenished except at the level of consultant/specialist, and that new specialists will prefer to work within PHE rather than in local authorities.

6. The local authority role as a “provider” in provider led networks is unclear in regard to the continuing professional development of public health staff to be hosted and then employed by them, while PHE are partners in HEE.

December 2011

Prepared 22nd May 2012