In my update last week, I highlighted the importance of supporting the NHS to prevent ill-health and reduce health inequalities through education and training of the health and care workforce. Our work in partnership with Head of Schools of Public Health, NHS England and Improvement, the Faculty of Public Health, Public Health England and the National Association of Primary Care is a real example of progress in this field, building enhanced training and education opportunities into clinical roles to develop wider system understanding and skills in population health. This is an approach aimed at improving health outcomes at population level that requires working strategically with communities and partner agencies. As we join with the voices raised in protest across the world in support of the black community, and reflect on the risks faced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) colleagues in healthcare, our clear purpose must be to reduce inequalities everywhere by listening to others lived experiences, committing to change and demonstrating leadership.
Earlier this year, HEE launched the first national Population Health Fellowship for NHS clinical staff in England. We appointed our first tranche of Population Health Fellows from a wide variety of clinical backgrounds across all regions. These young colleagues have a unique opportunity to develop skills relevant to their chosen clinical profession as they learn the wider population context during their fellowship. No doubt their experiences during the pandemic will influence HEE and their employing organisations as their skills develop.
As we now step into the re-set phase of health and care provision, it is important that we all explore the impact that the current pandemic has, and continues to have, on vulnerable populations and on wellness and healthy living.
Our Population Health Fellows are a timely introduction to HEE’s education and training offer in England, and we now have a real opportunity to look to a new future by developing and growing a workforce of professionals who will all have an understanding of the importance of population health in their everyday jobs.
Working together, we have a real opportunity, here and now, to encourage and support healthcare professionals to provide individualised care to prevent ill health, improve physical and mental health outcomes and to innovate at a population level. Through the fellowship programme we will create a faculty capable of incorporating population health in their local work systems and thereby improve patient outcomes. As the programme develops, there will be an ever-growing group of population health practitioners from multiple disciplines able to encourage and support development of population health strategies and approaches within the NHS and wider community, a must-do for the new future of health and care.
We are keen to work in partnership across the system to strengthen education and training, in both population health and public health for all health and social care professionals and have a range of programmes, resources, and e-Learning available to access, with more in the pipeline. For more information visit https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/population-health
Interim Chief Executive
Health Education England