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All Our Health: getting serious about prevention

An online framework has been developed to help health professionals maximise their impact on avoidable illness, health protection, and promotion of wellbeing and resilience, says Public Health England’s Jamie Waterall 
Giving nutritional advice

An online framework has been developed to help health professionals maximise their impact on avoidable illness, health protection, and promotion of wellbeing and resilience, says Public Health Englands Jamie Waterall

It is estimated that about two thirds of premature deaths could be prevented by addressing public health issues such as poor diet, being overweight, smoking and high blood pressure.

The NHS Five Year Forward View and Public Health Englands From Evidence into Action call for a much greater focus on prevention. The burden of preventable disease negatively impacts on many peoples lives and threatens the sustainability of Englands health and social care services. If the public were more involved

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An online framework has been developed to help health professionals maximise their impact on avoidable illness, health protection, and promotion of wellbeing and resilience, says Public Health England’s Jamie Waterall

Giving nutritional advice can promote good health. Picture: SPL

It is estimated that about two thirds of premature deaths could be prevented by addressing public health issues such as poor diet, being overweight, smoking and high blood pressure.

The NHS Five Year Forward View and Public Health England’s From Evidence into Action call for a much greater focus on prevention. The burden of preventable disease negatively impacts on many people’s lives and threatens the sustainability of England’s health and social care services. If the public were more involved in managing their health and engaged in prevention activities, it is estimated that up to £30 billion a year could be saved.

The Five Year Forward View describes the NHS as a social movement, recognising that - collectively and cumulatively - we can help shift power to patients and citizens, strengthen communities, improve health and wellbeing, and help moderate rising demands on the NHS.

It is time for health and care professionals to take action. We have relationships with individuals, families and communities, reaching across all ages and places, and there is a huge opportunity for health-promoting practice to make a difference to health outcomes and inequalities. By acting collectively, we can build a culture of health and wellbeing in our society.

All Our Health

With more than a million health and care professionals working across England – including 363,000 nurses, midwives and health visitors – we can act as a powerful force for change.

This is why Public Health England is leading a call to action for all staff to embed and extend prevention, health protection and promotion of wellbeing and resilience into everyday practice.

All Our Health is an online framework of evidence, produced by Public Health England, which brings together priority topics to help address the major factors causing premature death, ill health and health inequalities (see box). The framework includes tools and resources to support health and care professionals, with quick links to evidence and impact measures, as well as tips on effective approaches.

Topics included in All Our Health

  • Healthy beginnings
  • Childhood obesity
  • Child oral health
  • Early adolescence
  • Sexual and reproductive health and HIV
  • Workplace health
  • NHS Health Check
  • Respiratory health
  • Liver disease
  • Dementia
  • Smoking and tobacco
  • Adult obesity
  • Alcohol
  • Physical activity
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Falls
  • Tuberculosis
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Place-based services of care

All Our Health can also support continuing professional development (CPD) and revalidation for many professionals. The framework has been developed in conjunction with health and care professionals and forms part of the first three commitments in the new national nursing, midwifery and care staff framework, Leading Change, Adding Value.

Nurses have been at the forefront of public health for many decades. Florence Nightingale’s Rose Diagrams – which illustrated that more soldiers died in hospital from preventable communicable diseases than from their battle wounds – led to significant health reforms.

I frequently have the pleasure of meeting many modern ‘Nightingales’ who recognise the importance of addressing the major preventable causes of premature death and ill health. But not everyone makes an immediate link to how they can contribute to this important agenda, and this is why All Our Health has been introduced.

The framework allows professional colleagues to explore the important public health topics most relevant to their work. A practice nurse, for example, may want to look at the chapters on the NHS Health Check or obesity in adults, while nurses in acute settings may want to explore the resources related to antimicrobial resistance, falls and pressure ulcers.

To achieve large-scale change, we need the entire health and care workforce to play their part in promoting prevention.

How to get involved

All Our Health is a free online resource that provides brief summaries, so it will not take long to work through a particular topic of interest.

When Public Health England surveyed professionals who have used the tool, they told us it has the correct level of information and resources and is helping them to start making a difference.

The website includes infographics for those who like to learn visually, as well as many helpful and practical resources.

Across the UK, the NHS engages with more than a million patients every 36 hours. If every health and care professional could commit to supporting just one area detailed in the framework, the impact across the system would be transformational.

Thousands of professionals have already started using the All Our Health framework but we need even more to make a difference. Together, we can support people to live longer and healthier lives, and contribute to reducing the demands on health and care services in the future.

You can follow All Our Health on Twitter using #AllOurHealth


About the author

Jamie Waterall is associate deputy chief nurse and national lead for cardiovascular disease prevention at Public Health England

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