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Oxford School of Public Health

The Centre for Workforce Intelligence in partnership with the Royal Society of Public Health has published a review ‘Understanding the wider public health workforce in England’,  commissioned by Public Health England (PHE), Health Education England (HEE) and the Department of Health (DH). 

This review of the wider public health workforce in England identifies the size and scope of this workforce, provides examples of its work and considers possible professional development needs for strengthening this important service.

The report has found that at least 15 million people contribute to the public health agenda in England - ranging from police and fire personnel, to opticians and housing officers.

Skills for Health - Public Health Resources also has a useful overview.

Making Every Contact Count (MECC)

Making Every Contact Count is a concept which aims to improve lifestyles through encouraging and empowering people to make healthier lifestyle choices through appropriate brief interventions.  MECC recognises that staff across health, local authority, social care and voluntary sectors have thousands of contacts every day with the local population and are in a position to promote health and healthy lifestyles.

A brief intervention consists of the 3 principles:

1.  Ask individuals about their lifestyle and changes they may wish to make, when there is an appropriate opportunity to do so;

2.  Advise appropriately on the lifestyle issue(s) once raised;

3.  Act by offering information, signposting or referring individuals to the support they need.

Promoting healthy lifestyles will usually consist of appropriate brief interventions relating to smoking; harmful drinking; maintaining a healthy weight; physical activity; immunisations; mental health and sexual health.  However, other preventative issues may be addressed depending on the service and end-user; the skill to make every contact count is by taking a holistic approach to an individual’s care, and to have the confidence and understanding of when and how to initiate a conversation.

MECC forms part of the mandate from the Department of Health to both HEE and NHS England to ensure that the “NHS increases its focus on preventing illness, with staff using every contact they have as an opportunity to help people stay in good health”. 

HEE Thames Valley supported local organisations in 2012 to pilot MECC training within NHS and non-NHS organisations. 

An evaluation of the pilot explains the different projects in more detail.  More information on progress of the different programmes will follow.