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Public health professionals need freedom to speak out and protect health

The Faculty of Public Health today (25 September) reaffirmed its support for public health professionals who need to speak out about matters that affect the protection of the public’s health.

Professor John Ashton, President of the Faculty of Public Health, said: “It has long been FPH’s position that councils should not invest pension funds in tobacco companies. Tobacco is the only legal substance which kills half its customers when it used as intended. Councils have other industries they can invest in, and they cannot abdicate responsibility for what happens to public funds. Councils are responsible for the decisions that pension fund managers make on their behalf.

“We have seen with tragedies in hospitals and social services what happens when public sector workers are afraid to speak out about risks of harm. We need everyone in local authorities to work together so that public health professionals’ expertise is respected, particularly when it challenges the status quo. Otherwise, we risk creating a climate of fear that could do serious harm to people’s health.”

Written: 25/09/2013 , last modified: 24/12/2013