The Voice of the Royal Society for Public Health

By Keracher, Matt | Perspectives in Public Health, March 2015 | Go to article overview

The Voice of the Royal Society for Public Health


Keracher, Matt, Perspectives in Public Health


Since its creation in April 2014, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) External Affairs department has sought to increase the voice and reach of the organisation through developing policy and campaigns on a range of health issues that are important to both our members and the health of the public. Our vision is that everyone should have the opportunity to optimise their health and wellbeing, and therefore, the health issues we campaign on are as diverse and varied as the public we seek to speak for and empower.

Since its inception, one of the goals of the department was to develop policy which sets out the RSPH's position and key recommendations on a wide range of public health issues. This work and research undertaken by the policy team over the last six months has led to the creation of a number of position papers that cover health issues of interest to the public such as e-cigarettes, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations, antibiotic resistance, dementia prevention and alcohol labelling. These are all available at www.rsph.org.uk. The varying nature of the department's work is a direct result of feedback from both RSPH members and the general public, as well as the identification of emerging public health issues. Our position papers serve as a foundation for future campaigns, collaboration with other organisations as well as a learning tool for anyone wanting to find out more about our work.

Our campaign work has focused on a smaller number of issues drawn from our position papers. For example, concerns regarding the possible unknown health implications of e-cigarettes led us to campaign for additional research into their efficacy and safety as well as calling for clearer restrictions on their marketing and advertising, especially towards children and young people. The campaign provoked debate on the issue of e-cigarettes after widespread media coverage. Extending HPV vaccinations to males has been another campaign area where we have sparked debate and received interest from the national media and those working on the issue. Currently, HPV is responsible for 5% of all cancers worldwide. However, at present, the vaccination is only freely on offer to girls aged 12-13 years in the United Kingdom. We have been calling for the vaccination to be extended to boys of the same age and to men who have sex with men (MSM), with the issue being magnified once again by national press coverage.

By lobbying decision makers and disseminating information, we aim to educate and be a trusted voice for the public on health issues that matter to them. Providing people with the information they need to support their own health and wellbeing is a key part of the organisation's remit. …

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