The Kings Fund has just published The District Council Contribution to Public Health: a time of challenge and opportunity.
The first “hurrrah” is the extent to which environmental health is mentioned.
The second “hurrah” is for the reference list. Check it out! Caroline’s work on HMOs features, as does EHRNet’s An introduction to evidence based environmental health. The latter is of particular interest because is shows that blogs present a creditable way of disseminating open access information.
The CIEH/BRE work is also there, plus work by David Ormandy and colleagues (Braubach and Jacobs) on the health effects of inadequate housing.
For environmental health to have a real influence, there is an ongoing need to publish widely, most particularly in peer reviewed journals where it can be more systematically accessed and reviewed.
I am now feeling more inspired today!
Further to Jill’s post above I admit I haven’t yet read the whole of the King’s Fund’s report but senior EHPs including Graham Jukes and Ian Gray of the CIEH were involved in its development and it includes the following key messages and recommendations:
“…there is little published evidence on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness of environmental health interventions. In a period when spending is being cut – particularly, it seems, in environmental health – this kind of evidence is urgently required to better inform difficult decisions about local priorities and to ensure value for money.” (page 7)
“Recommendation 8: The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health should, as a matter of urgency, work with the DCN (District Councils’ Network) and other relevant parties to better understand the cost-effectiveness and return on investment of environmental health services.” (page 9)
In response to the report, CIEH Chief Exec. Graham Jukes commented:
“Environmental health is also recognised within the report as a major factor in determining people’s health and wellbeing and rightly so. We agree that further evidence on the effectiveness of environmental health interventions need to be made and as the report recommends, we would welcome the opportunity to work with the DCN and other stakeholders to highlight the substantial positive return when you properly invest in environmental health services.” (see: http://www.cieh.org/media/CIEH-comments-public-health-and-district-councils-191115.html)
As a researcher I would argue that it’s up to us, as EHPs, to prove whether this ‘substantial positive return’ from our work can be demonstrated (or not). Further, I know from experience how difficult and complex this is and that it will require funding for research that is hard to come by at the best of times. Forecasts about next week’s UK Government Spending Review suggest this could be one of the worst times for expenditure on public health related services in recent history.
Lastly, ‘welcoming the opportunity to work with the DCN…’ doesn’t convey to me any great sense of urgency from the CIEH towards engaging with the considerable challenges set by Recommendation 8. Therefore I look forward to seeing what happens next and (hopefully) being proved wrong.
With best wishes, Rob