Therapists asked to support public health activities

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has today released a report calling for a huge expansion in the type of UK workers helping to support efforts to improve the public’s health. 

A potential 15 million occupations have been identified from industries including beauty, as therapists have “the opportunity or ability to positively impact health and wellbeing through their work”, as outlined in the report. The aim is to reach beyond the estimated 40,000 people in the UK who are part of the core public health workforce, to encourage people working in other industries to join what the RSPH is calling the ‘wider’ public health workforce.

The report is called Rethinking the Public Health Workforce and it identifies occupations that already support public health work in some way and have regular contact with the public, including 222,000 hairdressers and related services. The RSPH has suggested some areas in which the wider workforce could support public health activities after appropriate training. These include point of care testing, including body fat measurements and finger prick, blood pressure and BMI testing; ‘social prescribing’, including screening for lifestyle health conditions such as inactivity and low level anxiety, and assisting the public to initiate conversations about health.

Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive at the Royal Society for Public Health commented: “An extra 15 million people would be a huge addition to the public health workforce and the potential benefits to the public’s health are huge. Many of these occupations enjoy trusted relationships with the public and have golden opportunities to reinforce and support conversations about lifestyle health issues in a sensitive and non-judgemental fashion.”  

Information can be found online here.