Our King’s Fund review & need for systematic reviews….

Dear colleagues,

Further to the post below on the King’s Fund’s report on the role of district councils in public health, a quick email from my PhD cave whilst I drink my coffee to publicise our review of this report which has just been published by EHN Online via:

http://tinyurl.com/htjkqf7

In summary we welcome the report and its recommendations and think that all EHPs (not just those in district councils) should read it. However, we are sceptical of it’s acceptance that there is no alternative to austerity policies for local government and (after Chadwick) we are not convinced that presenting only a ‘business case’ for our interventions will be enough to protect our work or, in the future, to encourage investment in what we do!

Further, the authors are concerned about the lack of evidence for the effectiveness of our interventions. We also recognise that more needs to be done, of course, but our own research suggests that we might already know enough to argue for the effectiveness of our interventions. The challenge is more to invest in systematically review this literature and ensure the findings are communicated and utilised by all EHPs, as per our arguments over the last four years for a more evidence based environmental health. We will write more about the need for systematic reviews in the New Year.

In the meantime many thanks, happy holidays and best wishes to all, 

Rob & Surindar

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One thought on “Our King’s Fund review & need for systematic reviews….

  1. Thanks to Rob and Surindar for this review. In support of what they say about existing evidence, I would just like to flag up some of the housing evidence related resources that already exist and that have been supported by the CIEH. The first is the Private Sector Housing Evidence Base, established back in 2009 – see http://www.cieh.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=40056 (which is unfortunately only available to CIEH members). Its launch has helped encourage and give confidence to new authors to publish their work, as well as to encourage existing authors to publish more. This is most particularly through Stewart J (2013) Effective Strategies and Interventions: Environmental Health and the Private Housing Sector, which is free to download at http://www.cieh.org/policy/Effective_Strategies_and_Interventions_Environmental_health_and_the_private_housing_sector.html. The impact of this document is such that it features on the NICE evidence base (http://www.evidence.nhs.uk/ – an excellent resource) as well as Housing LIN resource library (http://www.housinglin.org.uk/Topics/type/ – also excellent, more on this next week). This is surely something we could look at developing further across environmental health. Evidence based, outward facing and open access resources are surely the order of the day.
    Best wishes and season’s greeting, Jill

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