The new AHP (Allied Health Professionals) Public Health Strategic Framework is launched today, by Public Health England and the AHPF, of which BIOS is a member.

The Framework sets out the vision for the roles of Allied Health Professions in public health over the next 5 years and the goals to achieve that vision.

Orthoptists in public health

Orthoptists already play a huge role in promoting public health and continue to make progress. Last week’s AHP Public Health Impact Report highlighted a few of the ways in which they have made a significant impact.

Orthoptists were instrumental in the development of Vision Screening materials and guidance for 4-5 year old children in England. Vision screening for 4 to 5-year-olds is part of the healthy child programme, and the new materials summarise best practice for commissioners and those who carry out the tests, including school nurses, to ensure orthoptic-led screening is of a consistent high-quality and equitable across schools.

BIOS have engaged with key public health leaders to contribute to the PHE falls consensus statement, to support and encourage effective commissioning and the spreading of good practice to ensure older people are able to live without fear of falling and injury.

BIOS are dedicated to ensuring that this contribution to public health is sustained in future.  We have made a commitment to ensuring the future orthoptic workforce being equipped with the skills and knowledge to make valuable contributions to the prevention agenda at undergraduate and preceptorship level. Our ambition is to have a public health champion at each trust, to advance this agenda.

This reflects the work being done by orthoptists across the UK and Ireland. You can read more about our Public Health work here.

UK-wide strategy

The new AHP Public Health Strategic Framework builds on previous strategic documents to provide a united, collective approach to Public Health for the Allied Health Professions but is the first to cover the whole UK.  The Strategy was therefore written with input from the fifteen professions represented by one or more of the Chief AHP Officers across the UK and in collaboration with partners across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Each nation of the UK has similar public health priorities such as early years health, supporting healthy lifestyles, self-management and parity of esteem between physical and mental health; and therefore, it makes sense for us to collaborate on our approach to addressing them.

The key goals of the new strategy are;

  1. Developing the AHP workforce
  2. Demonstrating impact
  3. Increasing the profile of the AHP public health role
  4. Strategic connections and leadership, and
  5. Health and wellbeing of the workforce

The new strategic framework can be found here.

An opportunity for Orthoptists

Orthoptists should see this as the opportunity to ensure that they are advancing the public health agenda, but also to highlight where they are already having an impact.

“I am delighted and proud of the orthoptic profession who have engaged with the AHP Public Health Strategy 2015-2018 and made a significant impact on the Public Health agenda. The new UK wide AHP PH strategic framework sets out our vision for the next 5 years and I have no doubt that orthoptists will be making a commitment to delivering on the 5 goals to contribute to the prevention agenda highlighted in the NHS Long Term Plan.”

Jigs Mehta, BIOS Public Health Lead

If you are interested in finding out more:

  • The full Strategy can be read here.

  • The Impact Report to the 2015-18 Strategy for England is available here.

  • Find out more about the ways in which Orthoptists are engaged in public health here.