Advice Line: everyone’s business

Stuart Palma wants all CSP members to embrace the idea that public health falls naturally into their remit

Members of the CSP public health team are currently working with Linda Hindle, allied health professions lead at Public Health England, on a number of topics.

The aim is to increase the visibility of physiotherapy in the public health arena.

Last month the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) released guidance on managing people who are obese or overweight.

The recommendations on physical activity and behavioural change were welcome.

Disappointingly though, the guidance failed to recognise the vital role that physiotherapy can play in multidisciplinary weight management services.

Public health and prevention should be at the heart of everything we do. We need to recognise and promote our role in these areas.

We are in the unique position of having multiple contacts with individual patients every year. In NHS outpatient clinics in England alone, physios saw about one million new patients last year and we must ensure that we are taking these opportunities to give advice on weight, activity and smoking cessation.

Are we confident enough to tell someone they are overweight, and explain the impact of this?

If we aren’t, we must ask ourselves why this is the case.

Have we all read the Department of Health Public Health Outcomes Framework and made the relevant links to our practice?

Describing our role in public health to local commissioners should be easy.

We know about the physiological and biomechanical impacts associated with obesity, smoking and lack of activity.

Therefore, who better to manage an overweight smoker with associated co-morbidities?  

We must start establishing our public health role in our local areas now.

Falls prevention is one example of the benefits we bring to the pathways.

The omission of physiotherapy from the NICE guidance is reportedly due to a lack of evidence, so let’s start addressing this.

Public health is everyone’s business – including ours. The CSP plans to launch a weight management and obesity toolkit shortly.
Stuart Palma is a CSP professional adviser Email:

Stuart Palma

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