Public health is the promotion of health and well-being, prevention of ill-health and reducing health inequalities. The NHS Long Term Plan clearly sets out the vision towards a healthier nation with a focus on prevention and public health. In order to achieve this there needs to be an engagement of the wider health workforce to ensure we take a holistic view of our patients to improve their health and wellbeing. As orthoptists we are ideally placed to embrace this initiative and contribute to better health for all.
4 Priority Areas
With our AHP colleagues 4 priority areas have been chosen where we can make a difference:
- giving children the best start in life
- making every contact count
- emotional health and wellbeing
- health wellbeing of older adults
Orthoptists play a crucial role in supporting the public’s health.
For example, they lead child vision screening programmes, address vision and eye movement disorders in stroke care, and pick up the early signs and symptoms of cancer or illness, enabling early detection so that people receive prompt treatment. Orthoptists also support people’s wider health, through Make Every Contact Count (MECC) and using social prescribing for non-clinical needs, such as social inclusion or welfare support.
We also have a network of public health champions where they are promoting the public health message in their place of work, sharing good practice, motivating and empowering members of staff to engage with the public health agenda. If you would like to get involved contact [email protected]
You can find how orthoptists can have healthy conversations in the context of their own work in the following scenarios:
Double Vision and Diabetes
How do you have a healthy conversation about your patient’s lifestyle choices? Do those patients with diabetes know the risks the disease has on their eyes and vision? Can you measure the impact of that healthy conversation on the patient’s lifestyle? This scenario is an example of how you can support a patient with diabetes in making healthy life choices.
IIH in children
This scenario demonstrates how a student Orthoptist can be supported in having a healthy conversation about topics they might find more difficult to discuss with patients and parents
Smoking in Thyroid Eye Disease
How do you have a healthy conversation about your patient’s lifestyle choices? Do those patients who smoke know the risks that has on their eyes and vision? Can you measure the impact of that healthy conversation on the patient’s lifestyle? This scenario is an example of how you can support a smoker with thyroid eye disease in making healthy life choices.
Public Health is everybody’s business, whether you’re a doctor, nurse, or allied health professional. So how can you implement it into every day clinical practice? Here’s a short video that will equip you with the skills you need to Make Every Contact Count with your patients.