Compassion in Practice - Week of Action - Health Protection

Today, as part of our Week of Action on Action Area One of the nursing, midwifery and care staff strategy, Compassion in Practice, we are going to focus on the role of nurses, midwives and health visitors in protecting the public's health.  Read below what (1) Paul Cosford, Director of Health Protection at Public Health England, has to say on the subject, what (2) Joanne Bosanquet, Deputy Director of Nursing at PHE, has been up to today and my recent article (3) that appeared in the Nursing Standard:

1). Paul Cosford – Director of Health Protection – PHE

"As Director of PHE’s Health Protection Directorate, I consider nurses to play a vital role both within public health and more specifically in health protection. Nurses are integral to the effective prevention, management and control of infection and the recently published Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy is a prime example of where nurses can and do make a difference.

I am pleased to support supporting Action Area 1: Helping people to stay independent, maximising well-being and improving health outcomes of the national nursing strategy Compassion in Practice. The week of action begins on 28 October 2013 and Viv Bennett along with her deputy Joanne Bosanquet will be tweeting, running a webinar and contributing to a twitter chat. Health protection is an integral component of this work and Joanne will be visiting an outreach immunisations team on 31 October."


2). Joanne Bosanquet MBE, Deputy Director of Nursing at Public Health England, is visiting a roadshow on childhood immunisations this afternoon run by the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The campaign is entitled ‘Protect their future: Don’t wait to vaccinate’ and is being facilitated in collaboration with Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. The overall aim is to increase parents’ understanding of the importance of all childhood immunisations. The month-long campaign will be offering parents information and advice from doctors and health visitors on the facts about vaccinations for children. Across the UK measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunisation uptake at two years of age is now 93% (87.5% in London) and uptake of the second dose of MMR usually around 3 ½ years of age or school entry in the UK is 89% (81.2% in London). This is some way off the World Health Organisation’s target of 95%.

Joanne commented that this is an important campaign which is focusing on protecting the public’s health but making it everyone’s business. Local health and social care providers all have a part to play in public health  This collaboration between NHS trusts shows a great deal of understanding on the growing domain of public health called ‘healthcare public health’. Place based interventions make sense. It is all about taking your services out into the community and raising awareness. As recently quoted in a Department of Health document, 'Good population health outcomes, including reducing health inequalities, rely not only on health protection and health improvement, but on the quality and accessibility of healthcare services provided by the NHS.'

For more information on the campaign go to:

For supporting information on healthcare public health go to:

For more information on immunisation coverage go to:


3. Viv Bennett's Voice Piece Article from Nursing Standard, published on 9th Oct (Vol: 28 No 6)

As we move into winter, health protection and service preparedness and resilience are major priorities for the NHS. Nurses have significant roles to play in improving and protecting health at all three levels of public health practice: individual, caseload/community, and population health.

Last month, the Department of Health launched the UK five-year antimicrobial resistance (AMR) strategy (

This sets out actions to address the key challenges to AMR, a real and growing public health problem. As antibiotic resistance grows among the population, we need to prevent and protect against illnesses. All nurses and midwives are responsible for protecting patients through rigorous infection control practice, and must have the knowledge to advise patients about antibiotic use. Nurse prescribers have additional responsibilities to ensure antibiotics are being used appropriately.  

One urgent aspect of protection is nurses’ participation in the seasonal flu immunisation programme.

As nursing leads at Public Health England and NHS England, chief nursing officer Jane Cummings and I – along with our medical directors - have written to health and care services and clinical professionals to ask for their support in ensuring frontline NHS staff are immunised against flu. 

Nurses, midwives and care staff form the largest staff body within the NHS and social care, and can have the biggest impact on preventing the spread of flu.

By protecting ourselves against flu, we protect our families, support service resilience, and maximise the health protection of patients and communities.

For more information on our Week of Action, see  or link in via twitter @VivjBennett @MrsBosanquet @PHE_UK @6CsLive #AA1 #6CsLive

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