RSPH calls on next government to put prevention at the heart of their agenda

RECENTLY, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), the world’s oldest public health agency, has published its vision for a healthier United Kingdom which calls on the next government to put prevention at the heart of its agenda.

It argues that urgent and sustained action is needed to help reduce health inequalities, child poverty and the crisis of ill health in the workforce.

By focusing on prevention and investing in public health, the RSPH also argues that pressure will be reduced on the National Health Service and that the economy will be positively impacted.

RSPH’s vision focuses on three core policy strands:

  • Building a healthier future: this includes increasing the Public Health Grant, lifting the two-child benefit cap, expanding of Free School Meal provision, a ‘health in all policies approach’, and the enacting of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill legislation.
  • Utilising the wider public health workforce: RSPH has identified 1.5 million people working across schools, workplaces and other community settings that could be supported with public health training which could benefit five million people annually. It is calling for a national public health workforce strategy to help enable this.
  • Creating healthy workplaces: This includes incentivising businesses to provide core wellbeing services at work, occupational sickpay and occupational health support. As well as, providing employees with flexible working arrangements, improved pay, and better training for line managers on supporting staff who have health conditions.

The publication of RSPH’s vision comes against a backdrop of deeply alarming trends that have emerged over the last decade.  More than one million people died prematurely in the decade after 2011. 4.3 million children in the UK are growing up in poverty. There are currently 2.8 million people whose ill health is limiting their ability to participate in work.

Commenting on the publication of the vision, William Roberts FRSPH, Chief Executive, Royal Society for Public Health, said:

“There is nothing inevitable about widening health inequalities and the devastating impact that these are having on people and places right across this country. We aren’t getting it right and the next government will need to move quickly.

“Health is wealth and right now it isn’t being evenly distributed. We know what works. An unwavering focus on prevention needs to be at the centre of the next government’s agenda, with health as the thread that runs through all policies.

“The next government has nothing to lose and everything to gain from investing in public health. The policies laid out in our vision for a healthier future are backed by a weight of evidence that speaks to the positive impact they would have both on our health and our economy.

“From our workplaces to our communities, we need all political parties to put our health at the heart of policymaking. There is huge potential to build a healthier and more prosperous future.”