New report on the ‘nanny state’ debate launched at FPH in Scotland’s annual conference

02 November 2018, FPH Policy & Communications Team

Today, Professor John Coggon launched a new report on the ‘nanny state’ debate at FPH’s annual conference in Peebles, the theme for which is ‘public health ethics, equality and values’.

The report was written to help inform and guide public health professionals on what the nanny state debate means and how to positively tackle conversations that ridicule the introduction or consideration of specific public health interventions.

The report was commissioned by Dr Farhang Tahzib, Chair of FPH’s Ethics Committee. He said: “Public health ethics is one of the focus points for this year’s FPH in Scotland Conference which is why I invited Professor Coggon to write a report on the ‘nanny state’ debate.

"The aim of the report is to give the public health community a reference point in learning what the nanny state debate is, why we need to be aware of it and how we can engage with people who are concerned that public health interventions are taking away their rights.

“On behalf of FPH in Scotland, I’d like to thank Professor Coggon for writing this report, and I would strongly encourage everyone working in any kind of public health role to read and share this report. If public health ethics is of interest to you, please also consider joining FPH’s Special Interest Group on the topic.”

Dr Julie Cavanagh, Chair of the Committee of FPH in Scotland, said: “At the launch of the ‘nanny state’ report at FPH in Scotland’s Conference, we looked behind the simplistic critiques levelled against public health interventions in Scotland and across the UK.

“The public health community recognises that public health interventions can be labelled as being ‘nanny statist’ by individuals and organisations with opposing views, particularly when they think it’ll impact commercial gain.

“But the report made it clear that ethics and human rights must remain at the heart of public health practice, so we’re exploring how every individual can make the most of their right to health.

“That’s why we want to shift the debate from the negative connotations that come with the nanny state label to the positive opportunities that come with people’s right to health.”


Notes to editors

You can read Professor John Coggon’s full report at this link, and you can read more on why he wrote this report by reading his blog on Better Health For All. To find out more about FPH in Scotland, follow them on Twitter @FPHScot and for more about FPH’s Ethics Special Interest Group, click here.

About the Faculty of Public Health in Scotland's Annual Conference

The focus of FPH in Scotland's 2018 Conference is the right to health, including public health ethics, equality and values. To read more about the agenda, click here, and to follow live updates on Twitter, search the Conference hashtag: #ScotPublicHealth.

About the UK Faculty of Public Health

FPH is a membership organisation for 4,000 public health professionals from across the UK and around the world, and is a registered charity. Our role is to improve the health and wellbeing of local communities and national populations. We support the training of public health professionals and campaign to improve health policy in partnership with local and national governments.

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