Taking Forward 'Shaping the Future of Public Health' in Wales

Article excerpt

Fiona Kinghorn and Sandra Cairney of the Cardiff Local Public Health Team discuss positive developments for the field of health promotion in Wales

A positive policy context, a history of successful joint working between a number of key organizations at the national level and strong organizational support, have provided a solid platform on which recommendations of'Shaping the Future'1 have been taken forward in Wales over the past two years.

The NHS Restructuring Project in Wales led to the dissolution of health authorities and the establishment of the National Public Health Service for Wales (NPHS) in April 2003. The creation of the NPHS brought together for the first time all of the specialist health promotion staff previously employed in NHS Wales.2 These staff are deployed in 22 local public health teams (LPHTs), co-located with local health boards, which are co-terminous with local authorities.

In recent years Wales has developed robust joint working relationships particularly between the Welsh Assembly Government, the NPHS, the Wales Centre for Health and the Society of Health Education and Promotion Specialists (SHEPS), regarding workforce planning and training and education of health promotion and public health staff.

A NPHS review of LPHTs led to a series of recommendations, one of which was the need to create a professional support arrangement for health promotion staff within the NPHS, as well as to develop a coordinated approach to the provision of quality training and development. A working group was established, including a health promotion manager/senior member of staff, a public health practitioner, a member of SHEPS and a member of the Faculty of Public Health, in order to:

* Examine the need for a professional support and supervision system for health promotion staff.

* Make recommendations to ensure that the health promotion workforce is fit for purpose.

* Make proposals for training and development programmes for health promotion staff at entry to practitioner level.

* Identify the professional development needs of individuals who may aspire to registration as a defined specialist in health promotion.

The group examined the issues and compiled a report,3 which highlighted three key distinct areas of required action:

* Development of a professional leadership role for health promotion.

* A structure to enable all health promotion staff to access professional supervision.

* Equitable training and continuing professional development opportunities for all staff, from entry through to specialist level training.

An implementation group was formed to put together a firm proposal to develop this work, including the mapping of resource options and requirements for implementation. …