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Our journey for recognition as an integral part of the public health workforce

Linda Hindle talks about the increasing recognition of the role of Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) in public health.

Our journey for recognition as an integral part of the public health workforce

I was delighted to speak at the College of Paramedics National Conference earlier this year about increasing recognition of the role of Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) in public health.

It was back in April 2014 when the 12 AHP professional bodies agreed a collective ambition to be recognised as an integral part of the public health workforce.

We knew there was a bigger role for AHPs to play.

Paramedics and other AHPs were already contributing to public health but this wasn’t well known about.

Therefore, part of our challenge was to talk more about the public health work we do.  The image below highlights some of the ways in which paramedics are improving the public's health.

 

To achieve our ambition of greater public health recognition we started some work to engage and attract AHPs to public health, raise awareness of our contribution with commissioners and stakeholders and increase the focus on public health in training.

The time is now right for AHPs in public health. Public health leaders see the potential of AHPs; professional bodies support the shift in focus; academics are preparing the workforce; and there is a policy shift towards prevention.

It is also clear that paramedics and other AHPs support the increased focus on prevention.

A recent report by the Royal Society for Public Health and Public Health England (PHE) highlighted that 9 in 10 AHPs agree their role should include prevention and 9 in 10 members of the public agree.  

Following this success with increased recognition and public health activity we now need to maintain the momentum so that public-health becomes embedded into all AHP roles.

To support this aim PHE and the AHP Federation published  A strategy to develop the capacity, impact and profile of the allied health professions in public health. This eight-page document is certainly worth a read.  

I am delighted that the Association of Ambulance Chief Executive's, the College of Paramedics, NHS England, PHE and other national stakeholder organisations have agreed to work together to develop a shared vision of how ambulance services and paramedics will increase their focus on prevention and early intervention in future and what support they will need to do so.

This is an exciting time for AHPs in prevention, so if you are interested and want to continue the conversation then please join AHPs4PH  Facebook group.

To watch Linda's presentation from the 2016 National Conference, please click here.

Linda Hindle

Author: Linda Hindle (Lead AHP, Public Health England)

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