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Public health workforce

Position statements · Public health funding · Public health workforce | September 27, 2023

Why we have written this paper

The public health specialist workforce is critical, not only providing key leaders such as DsPH but also the technical skills and knowledge in all domains of public health. Without sustainable investment in the public health workforce, there will continue to be vulnerabilities to future pandemics and other health threats, an inability to reduce inequalities effectively, and to prevent the burden of chronic ill health overwhelming the NHS.  

We are a member of all the key public health workforce groups in England and work closely with national partners to inform workforce planning within the new public health system. The purpose of this briefing is to set out our key recommendations for the public health workforce. 

Our recommendations

  • The number of public health specialists in training should be increased.


  • Sufficient health protection professionals are needed to ensure expertise in every local authority as well as regionally and nationally. 


  • Workforce intelligence should be improved to support workforce planning and mobility. 


  • Barriers to workforce mobility should be removed, enabling continuity of service to be recognised across sectors and alignment of terms and conditions. 


  • Workforce wellbeing should be considered, as should the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the workforce. 


  • Secondments should be part of public health workforce development. 


  • Hardwired links between NHS public health workforce and DsPH should be established. 
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