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Find out what public health means and why physio staff are ideally placed to promote it.



Public health concerns itself with both illness prevention and the promotion of personal wellbeing. An emphasis on health promotion and physical activity is now central to government policy across the UK and can attract significant service investment. This new focus presents huge opportunities for physiotherapy staff.

Defining public health

The science and art of promoting and protecting health and wellbeing, preventing ill health and prolonging life through the organised efforts of society

Faculty of Public Health

Public health has three aspects:

  • health improvement – enabling people to better their own health and wellbeing
  • health protection – ensuring the integrity of environmental factors and preventing the transmission of communicable diseases
  • improving services – establishing systematic provision to do both of the above effectively

With unique skills, physiotherapy has an invaluable contribution to make in each of these areas, creating huge opportunities for the profession.

Do your bit to improve public health

Remember to incorporate prevention and health promotion advice into your everyday clinical practice – make every contact count. At the same time, you can also use your clinical knowledge of the causes and processes of disease to educate people on how best to avoid them.

More generally, do also use opportunities to market your physio-specific abilities to other clinical professionals and local decision makers.

Further learning

iCSP Public Health network

Sign up to the iCSP Public Health network (CSP member login required), to receive regular policy, events and publications updates.

Physiotherapy Works

The CSP has already produced a number of Physiotherapy Works briefings pertaining to public health, including:

Free BMJ e-learning

The BMJ has produced a number of e-learning modules, some of which are free of charge once you have registered on their website:

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