What do we mean when we say Happy Christmas and Happy New Year? For many people this includes good wishes for good health in the year ahead and gratitude for good health enjoyed and/or care received in the year just turning. For me it includes thanking all of you for all that you have done, and will do, to help people with their health, wellbeing and resilience, preventing avoidable illness and protecting health. Thanks to all you have done across all care settings: we are embedding health promoting practice and contributing to closing the health and wellbeing gap. Special thoughts and thanks, as always, to those working over the holiday.
Turning to the New Year - for many people it is time to take action to improve their health. So what better time to have that health promotion conversation to support someone who has decided to try to give up smoking or reduce their alcohol consumption. To have these conversations we need evidence-based information we can be confident in. All Our Health can help with this and is all about empowering all health and care workers to develop as health promoting practitioners and help create a social movement for health.
The way we have demonstrated how All Our Health can help to create this social movement is in our townscape. This shows all the places where health and care professionals interact with patients and the public and, working individually and together, can make a real difference to health in local communities. This could be school nurses at school, pharmacists at a chemist or in a care home, physiotherapists at a sports clinic or visiting an older person to discuss mobility issue, nurses on a hospital ward, midwives at a birthing clinic or visiting expectant women at home… the list goes on.
As it is Christmas we wanted to showcase this in a traditional, festive style and so we have written to Santa and requested a little snow, a few sparkly decorations and some general Christmas magic for our town. As busy as Santa is he has found the time to help us and so in the run up to Christmas we will be doing our very own special Twelve Days of Christmas, starting on 12th December. We will be Tweeting out a daily snow-covered image from the All Our Health town highlighting how you might incorporate health promotion in your work and signposting you to the available resources on a number of topics on our webpage.
If you don't see your professional 'equivalent' in the town it doesn't mean All Our Health doesn't apply to you - just that we haven't had planning permission in our crowded little town for anymore buildings! So consider how it translates to your place of work and make that difference.
So I wish you all a wonderful, healthy Christmas. Thank you for all the hard work and compassion you have provided in caring for others this year. I hope you have a great 2017 and find the time to take up the All Our Health call to action and help others better look after their own health and wellbeing, build their resilience and make their 2017, and long-term future, as healthy and illness-free as possible.
We also promise we won’t share any Tweets with us singing Christmas carols!
Viv Bennett, Chief Nurse, Public Health England