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Past workforce censuses

Workforce Survey 2011

2011 saw the fifth census conducted by the Faculty of Public Health (FPH). The census was carried out exclusively online and the deadline was again extended due to lower than expected response rates. The results of the 2009 census were considered not to be statistically sound due to low response rates, and it was agreed that they would be considered alongside the 2011 results. However, the 2011 census received an even lower number of responses, with many only partially completed. This is below both the quality and quantity of what FPH would hope for, particularly given the lack of fully completed questions, to be able to deliver an accurate description of the state of the current public health workforce to help with planning and strategy.
 
As a result, FPH is engaging with other organisations regarding currently available workforce data: to agree what is needed and discuss the sharing of that information. The design and format of the 2013 census will be informed by this work.

Workforce Survey 2009

In 2009, the fourth workforce census was undertaken by FPH. In line with the FPH environmental policy and in interest of keeping costs as low as possible, the data collection was done largely via an online survey. However, the response rate was significantly lower than in previous years, despite extending the response time. The result was that the data did not allow for an accurate state of the public health workforce to be reported.

Workforce Survey 2007

Download the Specialist public health workforce in the UK survey report 2007 [pdf]

Summary

  1. Despite the government's commitment to public health and the ambitious agenda set out in Choosing Health , the cumulative and unintended impacts of repeated reorganisations in the NHS in England have led to a fall in the numbers of trained public health specialists working within the public health system in the UK and particularly in England 2003-2007. This fall is in stark contrast with the rapid rise in all the clinical professions and the average increase of 61% of consultant numbers in England between 1996 and 2006.
  2. Staffing levels of the consultant workforce in the UK remain well below the level required to deliver “the fully engaged scenario” envisaged by Wanless and below the 25 per million population recommended and endorsed by the Faculty of Public Health (FPH).
  3. There has been an improvement in the overall self-reported capacity of public health teams from 45% reporting the team is adequate or more than adequate in 2005 to 49% in 2007.
  4. The Healthcare Commission's Annual health check for England 2006/7 has shown that only 33% of Primary Care Trusts scored good or excellent in the public health domain.
  5. Findings from a qualitative study undertaken by the Faculty of Public Health indicate that the organisational changes in England following Shifting the Balance of Power and shortly thereafter Commissioning a Patient Led NHS were associated with an increase in workplace stress and demand and a loss of experienced staff across England.
  6. Two hundred (21%) consultants indicated that they may leave public health practice in the next five years, of whom 109 are aged 55 years and over.
  7. The new arrangements, with joint appointments between larger primary care trusts and local authorities in most regions in England , are already resulting in many new consultant appointments being advertised and appointed. There is now a window of opportunity to re-establish properly resourced and funded public health departments, and to re-energise public health training schemes. Consideration needs also to be given to the public health input into commissioning and acute hospitals and trusts. These larger departments can provide high quality working environments conducive to recruitment and retention of consultant staff. This is essential if primary care trusts are to deliver an effective public health function.

Further workforce publications

Public Health Capacity, the Challenges for Public Health [PDF]:
A Report from three capacity workshops held jointly by the Faculty of Public Health, the Department of Health for England, the Health Protection Agency and the Health Development Agency (May 2004)
Raising Health: Organisational Options for Delivering Improved Public Health [PDF]
Report by OMP and the Faculty of Public Health (May 2004)
Public Health in NHS Trusts [PDF]
The Faculty of Public Health and BAMM (May 2004)
Public Health and Strategic Health Authorities: Implications of Regional Changes [PDF]
Faculty of Public Health [May 2003]
Public Health Sciences: Challenges and Opportunities [PDF]
An independent public health sciences working group, convened by the Wellcome Trust, has published a report which considers the current state of the public health sciences in the UK and recommends measures that it believes will enhance their impact upon the public's health. The working group is chaired by Faculty fellow, Professor Stephen Frankel
Enabling the Development of Public Health Networks [PDF]
National Public Health Network Learning Set Programme Summary Report by the Department of health and the Public Health Resource Unit (March 2004)
The specialist public health workforce in the UK
This key report describes the state of the current specialist public health workforce in the UK, using different models to recommend national targets for levels of consultants and specialists in public health to ensure delivery of a safe and effective public health system. A limited number of printed copies can be ordered through the Faculty. (March 2004)

Workforce Survey 2005

Download the full Workforce Survey 2005 [pdf]

Summary

  1. The 2005 survey of the specialist public health workforce identified 1107 individuals working at consultant level in public health in their primary post, 224 (17%) less than in 2003. About 20% of this fall is in service pubic health posts.
  2. The problem is particularly acute in England , with only 36% of Primary Care Trusts England believing that they have sufficient capacity and capability to deliver public health effectively. This is compared to Northern Ireland , Scotland and Wales where 70%, 60%, 56% respectively of those surveyed agreed their team was adequate to deliver the public health agenda.
  3. Academic public health has shown a decline of 53.3% reduction in numbers. This fall is consistent with data from the Council of Heads of Medicals Schools (CHMS).
  4. The restructuring of Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities following Commissioning a Patient-Led NHS (CPLNHS) could result in 100-150 more senior positions being lost.
  5. There is a 40% reduction in planned recruitment for public health training for 2006, compared with 2005. Sources within the Deaneries reveal that 4 of the 13 regions plan to cancel their public health training completely for this year.

Further workforce publications

Public Health Capacity, the Challenges for Public Health [PDF]:
A Report from three capacity workshops held jointly by the Faculty of Public Health, the Department of Health for England, the Health Protection Agency and the Health Development Agency (May 2004)
Raising Health: Organisational Options for Delivering Improved Public Health [PDF]
Report by OMP and the Faculty of Public Health (May 2004)
Public Health in NHS Trusts [PDF]
The Faculty of Public Health and BAMM (May 2004)
Public Health and Strategic Health Authorities: Implications of Regional Changes [PDF]
Faculty of Public Health [May 2003]
Public Health Sciences: Challenges and Opportunities [PDF]
An independent public health sciences working group, convened by the Wellcome Trust, has published a report which considers the current state of the public health sciences in the UK and recommends measures that it believes will enhance their impact upon the public's health. The working group is chaired by Faculty fellow, Professor Stephen Frankel
Enabling the Development of Public Health Networks [PDF]
National Public Health Network Learning Set Programme Summary Report by the Department of health and the Public Health Resource Unit (March 2004)
The specialist public health workforce in the UK
This key report describes the state of the current specialist public health workforce in the UK, using different models to recommend national targets for levels of consultants and specialists in public health to ensure delivery of a safe and effective public health system. A limited number of printed copies can be ordered through the Faculty. (March 2004)

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