What do we mean by public health?

I have had a really good few days talking to nurses, midwives and health visitors from primary and community services about public health.

We have discussed, what do we mean by ‘public health’ and is it a term that resonates with nurses? Is it about the profession’s role in ‘health promotion and protection?’ Does this encompass individual and population health? Is ‘the public’s health’ a better term? I would really like to hear your thoughts.

This week there is a real focus on children and young people’s health at the CPHVA conference. As we celebrate 150 years of public health nursing we can see what has been achieved and think about the best way to support individuals, families and communities over the next 150 years!

To support the next steps I will be presenting the vision and strategy and what it means for public health nurses and launching care pathways and fact sheets to support the implementation of both the health visitor and school nurse service offer.

The two school nurse fact sheets build on the young people materials published in August: One specifically aimed at Health and Social Care Professionals and the other at Teachers and Governors. They provide a summary of the service offer and how school nurses can improve the health and well-being of children and young people

The two pathways, Safeguarding and Supporting the Health and Wellbeing of Young People in or on the Edge of the Youth Justice System provide a structured framework for health visitors and school nurses, clarifying roles and responsibilities and giving information to enhance partnership working across agencies. They build on good practice and solutions drawn from services to get the best possible outcomes for children and young people.

I would like to thank all those involved in developing these resources, including health visitors, school nurses, youth offending teams, head teachers and the professional organisations.

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  1. Comment by Jessica Robertson posted on

    It's about protecting the public's health through health promotion but its also about those upstream preventative approaches.
    As specialist public health nurses we are well placed to work alongside the public to promote their health as are midwives who work with people in a transitional period. Unfortunately our public health dept doesn't recognise that and we are shut out and left barely able to cover the universal service and safeguarding.
    By promoting upstream initiatives we would have more universal case loads but some are still difficult to persuade.
    More public health research is needed again using your frontline workforce would enable this to happen.
    Co-operative of professionals working in an area would enable more scope and public health focus. It would enable us to tailor our service to the needs of our community. Unfortunately with managers covering huge demographics this will not happen. Worth thinking about will save a lot of money and cut the huge wastage out there!


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