‘We need to work together to create a culture of health’ says PHE director @NS_reporter


By Katie Osborne

A website for public health nurses that provides comprehensive, up-to-date information on the most common issues affecting the nation’s health has been launched. Public Health England (PHE) director of nursing Viv Bennett unveiled its Caring for Populations Across the Lifecourse online framework last week, saying the website is designed to put nurses at the forefront of a drive to improve public health. She told an audience of senior nurses at a PHE conference in Birmingham that the framework would ensure nurses across the country were providing reliable, evidence-based and consistent

‘Make every contact count,’ urged PHE director of nursing Viv Bennett

Examples of fast facts Fact:

Fact: Physical inactivity is a contributor to around 17 per cent of premature deaths, while 67 per cent of men and 57 per cent of women have excess weight. Action: Use National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance to change health-damaging behaviours.

One in two people aged over 80 will have a fall. Falls cost the NHS more than £2 billion a year. Action: Promote balance classes and physical activity to enhance functional independence and prevent deteriorating mobility.

advice to patients and their families on the key issues affecting the country. Best practice guidance, fact sheets, symptoms, policy documents and outcome indicators on six national priority areas – alcohol, tuberculosis, antimicrobial resistance, dementia, falls and the first 1,001 days of a baby’s life – are published on the website at Professor Bennett said the framework would play a key role in raising nurses’ profile and visibility. Unless the focus of health care moves from treatment and illness to a health improvement, health promotion and health protection approach, there will be more than three million people living with long-term conditions by the end of this decade, she warned. ‘We need to work together to create a culture of health across the country and we want nurses to commit to being part of that change. We need to make every contact count.’ Professor Bennett said nurses and other healthcare professionals working on the front line must become public health leaders and champions. She added that nurses in England could become world leaders in this field and PHE is working with European Union nurses and the World Health Organization to promote the framework abroad.

NHS HAS A DUTY TO LOOK AFTER EMPLOYEES’ HEALTH The importance of investing in the health and wellbeing of nurses cannot be underestimated, says Department of Health director of nursing Viv Bennett. She added that NHS trusts need to take their employer responsibilities seriously and ensure nurses are being fully supported to lead healthier lives. ‘The NHS has that duty as a role model,’ Professor Bennett said. ‘Encouraging

healthcare staff to look after their own mental and physical health is important. By supporting them to do that, we get staff who are fitter and provide better care. The NHS needs to be looking at creating environments of health.’ Professor Bennett said she was pleased to see some trusts taking the initiative, but it needed to be widespread. Among those trusts who have introduced schemes

is Colchester Hospital NHS Trust with its SOS support system for staff on sick leave. Staff who call in sick are immediately contacted and offered advice. Those with common complaints such as stress or back pain are offered access to immediate treatment in the form of counselling or physiotherapy and a follow-up conversation a week later assesses their fitness to return to work.

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'We need to work together to create a culture of health' says PHE director.

A website for public health nurses that provides comprehensive, up-to-date information on the most common issues affecting the nation's health has bee...
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