We refer to people who contribute to public health in some way through their actions (even if they do not realise it) as the ‘wider public health workforce‘.  In 2015, the Department of Health, HEE and PHE completed a review ‘Understanding the wider public health workforce in England‘.  This review provides examples of the work of the public health workforce and considers possible professional development needs for strengthening it.It is estimated that 15 million people in over 170 occupations work in the wider public health workforce.  Many people therefore can make a contribution to the health and wellbeing of others in their daily lives.

The Public Health England report on ‘The wider public health workforce:  A review‘, identifies 3 broad categories of work completed by the wider public health workforce:

  • leading and advocating for health
  • influencing the wider determinants of health
  • direct contact with individuals and communities

Making Every Contact Count (MECC)

Making Every Contact Count (MECC) is an approach to behaviour change that utilises the millions of day to day interactions that organisations and people have with other people to encourage changes in behaviour that have a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities and populations.

MECC recognises that the workforce across health, local authority, social care and voluntary sectors have thousands of contacts every day with the local population and are in a position to promote health and healthy lifestyles.

Promoting healthy lifestyles will usually consist of appropriate brief interventions relating to smoking; harmful drinking; maintaining a healthy weight; physical activity; immunisations;mental health and sexual health.  However, other preventative issues may be addressed depending on the service and end-user; the skill to make every contact count is by taking a holistic approach to an individual’s care, and to have the confidence and understanding of when and how to initiate a conversation.

– MECC for BOB STP, please contact casey.dunlop1@nhs.net

– MECC for Frimley STP, please contact, esther.audsley@nhs.net

– Oxfordshire libraries case study, evaluation to follow