The UK Allied Health Professions Public Health Strategic Framework 2019-2024 sets out a vision for how all Allied Health Professions (AHPs) will lay a role in public health over a five year period. It was jointly developed by partners in all four nations of the UK, including every AHP professional body.
Within it we set out a vision where AHPs are able to improve population health, where public health is a core element of all AHP roles and where the impact of AHPs on the population’s health and reducing health inequalities is recognised. These webpages bring together the work that the BDA is doing to deliver on the strategic framework and that vision.
Public Health is something we all do
It is widely recognised that preventing ill health is essential if we are to avoid bankrupting the NHS. Across all four nations the NHS has recognised that taking steps to prevent ill-health will reduce the burden on health and care services. As experts in nutrition, we all know that good diet and nutrition plays a significant role in the prevention of many of the long-term conditions that are costly to health and care services and impact on the lives of ever increasing numbers of patients.
But diet is not the only factor contributing to the increasing prevalence of long-term conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, respiratory disease and malnutrition. Some of us are already starting to talk to patients about other parts of their lifestyle that contribute to the development of ill-health such as physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and loneliness. If we are interested in our patients and clients well-being it is clear that we should all be part of the wider public health workforce.
Evidence illustrates that the public trust healthy lifestyle advice if it comes from Allied Health Professionals. So no matter whether you work in the acute sector, mental health or community sectors you can make a difference, making the most of every contact with our patients by having ‘healthy conversations’ and 'Making Every Contact Count'. Our skill will be in knowing how to support people at an individual level, with a tailored approach.
To do this effectively some of us may need to refresh our skills and update ourselves on the current public health priorities. To help with this, the BDA is developing on-line learning resources and we are refreshing our 'Public Health Champions' network. We know good practice exists, and we have the opportunity to share public health case studies as part of the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) AHP Public Health Hub, to help inspire others.
If you’re an NHS dietitian, dietetic manager, student dietitian or freelance dietitian and interested in finding out more about what you can do to promote public health and contribute toward this agenda, take a look at the pages using the links below.
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