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Health improvement

Promoting and improving health for the public is a difficult service to deliver effectively and there are pitfalls and challenges for the radiography workforce.

The boundary between 'nudging and nagging' the public into making better health care decisions is sometimes not so clear and all too often the messages in promoting better health come across to the public as being patronising and/or irrelevant.

However, members of the imaging and radiotherapy workforces are often well placed to influence the choices made by their patients and users with regard to health and well-being and the SCoR is providing guidance and advice to support the radiography workforce in this important role.

The United Kingdom has a public health problem. Just about every statistic there is shows us in a poor light compared with almost every other developed country. As a nation, we tend to make poor life style choices, including smoking, obesity, teenage pregnancy, lack of exercise, poor diet, drug and alcohol abuse and so on. Looking at mortality rates, it is glaringly obvious that there are gross inequalities across the UK.

There is a web of complex factors operating as a block to being healthy including homelessness and poor housing, poverty, unemployment, social isolation, learning disability, mental illness and addiction. So, the challenge is how can members of the radiography workforce work to reduce these inequalities and stimulate positive health outcomes for all?

Radiographers, assistant practitioners, students and trainees, researchers, managers and educators all have a part to play in undertaking health promotion activities for the benefit of patients. In particular, radiation protection is a vital role for the radiography workforce and this is an area of health promotion and protection in which radiographers undoubtedly have acknowledged expertise.

Members of the imaging and radiotherapy workforces do have a part to play and this is a challenge to consider your role in this and how you could influence the choices made by patients with regard to health and well-being.

In Scotland work is underway to involve AHPs in  improving the health and well-being of patients and this centres around one of the NHS Standards (targets) for this year.  NHS Health Scotland provides an  e-learning module on physical activity here http://elearning.healthscotland.com/course/index.php?categoryid=113

Newly published: Working for Health Equity: The Role of Health Professionals

This report demonstrates that the healthcare system and those working within it have an important and often under-utilised role in reducing health inequalities through action on the social determinants of health. The health workforce are, after all, well placed to initiate and develop services that take into account and attempt to improve the wider social context for patients and staff. The report also provides statements for action developed by health professional organisations which seek to give practical accessible tools for particular professionals to develop and use in their roles. Note pages 86 and 87 in main report:  the radiographer's role in addressing the social determinants of health

Download the summary and main report here:

http://www.instituteofhealthequity.org/resources-reports/working-for-health-equity-the-role-of-health-professionals

Health Improvement is indeed a “hot topic” and resources and relevant links will be added to this page as the project develops.

Please contact PandE@sor.org if you are already doing something to deliver health improvements or if you want to be involved.

Click here to read a report of the SoR's latest Health Improvement Day. Read a reflective report from a mammographer who attended the study day and has considered how she might introduce elements of health improvement in practice. Read a plan for a career as a therapeutic radiographer in health improvement from Kathryn Hilliard, student radiographer (therapeutic), University of Portsmouth.

Downloads/links

SCoR Health Promotion: guidance and advice for the radiography workforce, June 2011

DH Healthy lives, healthy people: our strategy for public health in England, Nov 2010

Public Health – Who Cares?, December 2012, Synergy News

Public Health England – marketing update [added Nov 2013]

British Heart Foundation's No Smoking Day Campaign

Public Health England/Department of Health – Framework for personalised care and population health

The art of involving people in health innovation: 'Lessons and tips from the frontline' by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity

Education and Training Opportunities in Health Improvement

With support from the Department of Health, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has developed a Level 2 qualification focusing on health improvement information and guidance. This supports the department's major initiative to provide highly skilled Health Trainers working in local communities:
Fact sheet: Level 2 award in Understanding Health Improvement

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