A Royal Society for Public Health report, Rethinking the Public Health Workforce, maps out the professionals who are not specialists in public health, but have the opportunity or ability to positively affect health and wellbeing through their work. These professions which include, for example, allied health professionals (AHPs), fire and rescue services, hairdressers and housing professionals could provide an untapped resource, coming into contact with the public on a regular basis, often with the most vulnerable in society, and crucially, enjoying a trusted relationship with the public. To reduce preventable disease, we must embed healthy lifestyles throughout communities, making public health everybody’s business.
'Rethinking the Public Health Workforce' identifies a number of occupations, who have already started to support public health work. It builds on the findings of a separate paper Understanding the Wider Public Health Workforce which has also been jointly published by the Centre for Workforce Intelligence (CfWI) and the RSPH.
The joint research commissioned by the Department of Health, Public Health England and Health Education England, and produced by the CfWI and RSPH, includes the following estimates for professionals delivering public health outside of core healthcare settings:
- 172, 686 Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) (including physiotherapists and podiatrists)
- 292,000 Protective service occupations (including fire service, police, ambulance)
- 243,000 Welfare and housing professionals
- 72, 985 Pharmacists and their teams