The nursing workforce will in future receive more training in general health prevention as part of the government’s policy on public health, a senior Department of Health clinician has hinted.
Ruth Hussey is one of three directors leading the implementation of the government’s public health reforms, which include the setting up of a new national body, Public Health England, and the transfer of local public health responsibility to councils.
Dr Hussey told Nursing Times the specialist public health workforce would be “absolutely critical” in efforts to reduce health inequalities. But she added that public health would also have a higher profile in the training of the wider NHS workforce, details of which would be outlined in a strategy document due this autumn.
She said: “We need to embed a public health approach across all the workforce and part of the workforce strategy, I suspect, will address some of the wider issues about how we get preventative skills into the wider workforce. But then there are groups of specific professionals like public health nurses who play an absolutely key role.
“What’s clear out of all of these changes is we want to ensure that we’ve got a strong, capable public health workforce in its broadest sense,” she said.