Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Change and Development in Specialist Public Health Practice

Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Change and Development in Specialist Public Health Practice

Article excerpt

Change and development in specialist public health practice By S. Griffiths, A. Thorpe and J. Wright. Published by Radcliffe Publishing, Oxford, 2005. Paperback 120 pp. ISBN 185775-697-5

There have been significant developments in public health since the late 1990s. The political movement to strengthen the public health function has not only resulted in many professional groups taking on the mantle of public health, but also those from a non-medical background being able for the first time to move in to specialist positions. The Griffiths et al. text plots some of the historical changes and the more recent development in specialist public health practice, and is therefore timely.

There is little doubt that the current policy environment in the UK is highly conducive to public health action. Nonetheless, as the book points out, public health specialists are facing significant challenges. A number of questions relating to these challenges are addressed by the authors, including an examination of how equipped public health specialists are to tackle 21st-century health problems, and what training is needed to ensure appropriate competency and sufficient capacity.

The text is up-to-date in terms of the current policy analysis, but will undoubtedly date quickly as new policies are introduced and health systems are reorganized. One issue in relation to this is that the authors, like others in public health before them, have hijacked Health Promotion Charters - in particular the Ottawa Charter and Alma Ata Declaration - and presented these as embracing the fundamental principles of public health. …

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