I’m Andy Turner, a Public Health Specialty Registrar in the North West of England.
I’m a biologist by background, but moved away from academia as I grew to realise that my research just wasn’t of real value and I felt guilty using money that could have done more good being spent elsewhere. A desire to do something more important led me into public health.
Since then, I’ve become more and more aware that decisions made on our behalf by politicians and other leaders are often too short-term and focussed mainly on dealing with avoidable problems rather than preventing them in the first place.
A public health approach is one which focusses on prevention, on the creation of environments where bad things (poor health and wellbeing, crime, violence, climate change…) are less likely to happen. Prevention is better than cure, everybody know this – but it isn’t reflected in policy (or funding). We need to shift our focus upstream, to prevention rather than cure; to improving lives, communities and our environment, rather than dealing later with the consequences of not doing so. We need to take a public health approach to tackling various difficult problems and this is where the name of this blog comes from – in short, we all need to be more ‘public healthy’!
I hope that this blog will be of interest not only to those working in public health, but the wider public too. Those of us working in public health are not always successful at describing what we do and why we do it to the general public, often assuming that long, technical reports or complicated statistics are enough to get our messages across. They’re not. Instead, I want to write in a simple and accessible way, to engage more effectively with non-experts, the public, and people who don’t necessarily agree with our way of thinking. Please feel free to get in touch and let me know if I’ve managed it…