It’s election time for the Faculty of Public Health. Every three years, the Faculty elects a new President. And somehow, I’ve been persuaded to stand for election.
The underlying reason is that I think public health professionals and the public health discipline are important – for the health system and society more generally. So it’s worth being committed to the Faculty and contributing to the on-going development and accreditation of the public health workforce. The more immediate reason is that I’ve been critical of the Faculty in recent months (mostly over its response to the dismantling of the NHS) and have been encouraged to address my concerns by working on the inside. Put your money where your mouth is. Something like that.
I’ve got a manifesto – as do four other candidates. This is what is says ..
Public Health in the UK faces unprecedented threats, including:
- commercialisation of health and health care;
- disintegration of the public health workforce;
- disorganisation, fragmentation and erosion of ethical standards and trust within the health and social care system;
- widening social inequalities; and
- unchecked social drivers of ill health.
I am standing for President because I want to enable public health to mount robust and effective responses to these threats.
Three building-blocks form the basis of my manifesto.
First, better harnessing the professional mandate and skills of the Faculty membership to promote and safeguard the public interest whilst countering regressive and harmful political and commercial agendas, and more effectively influencing policy on the social determinants of health.
Second, as our discipline becomes divided (functionally and structurally), ensuring that the Faculty helps keep the public health community strong and united. This will require fresh thinking about how the FPH provides a safe and sound home for the many diverse professional, technical and interest groups working in public health, across the whole of the UK.
Third, promoting a programme of staff and organisational development for the Faculty so that it works more effectively as an organisation of which its members can be proud and for which they feel a sense of ownership. This will enable it to bring about much needed revitalisation of public health education, training and accreditation.
I’m not a typical candidate for the position. But as with all elections, the options available to voters and the pre-election discussion is as important as the eventual result.
Whoever is elected will require the support of all members to safeguard the future of the Faculty and of the wider ability of public health professionals to perform a public interest role effectively and safely.