Department of Health and Social Care
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Inaugural conference highlights key role of nurses and midwives in improving health and wellbeing

Dealing with the health care challenges of the 21st century means new ways of working for all health care professionals to help people live in the best health possible for as long as possible.

Midwives and nurses can make a real impact from ensuring a healthy start right through to the end of life.

Over 300 nurses and midwives will attend the first national conference focusing on ‘Improving the Public’s Health: the Key Role of Nurses and Midwives’ organised by Public Health England (PHE) and Department of Health (DH). They will hear from experts who will present current evidence and thinking on how all nurses and midwives can make a real and tangible difference in improving and protecting the public’s health and wellbeing. The conference will also offer an opportunity for nurses and midwives to be consulted and engage with developing a model for public health nursing and midwifery for England. The model will support professional practice to promote good health and wellbeing outcomes and raise the profile of our professional contributions to prevention and reducing health inequalities.

Nurses and midwives have asked for a ‘practitioner friendly’ evidence base to extend the range and reach of their inputs at patient, family and community levels. PHE, working with NICE, have produced this advice based on NICE guidance which will be launched at the conference. Professionals want to be able to show they are making a difference and the conference will also launch a range of materials showing impacts on the Public Health Outcomes Framework.

Professor Viv Bennett, Director of Nursing at DH and PHE, commented:

Every nurse and midwife can become a health promoting practitioner by using their knowledge and skills to make a personal and professional impact. In addition to the nurses, midwives and health visitors working in specialist public heath roles, we all have the potential to make a difference to the public’s health throughout our interactions with patients, families and communities – ‘making every contact count’ for improved health and wellbeing.

Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive, Royal College of Midwives commented:

Midwives have a significant and important role to play in public health. They are often a woman’s first contact with the health service at an important time in their life and they can have a positive effect not just on the health of the woman during pregnancy, but beyond it as well. Also, any improvements in the health of the woman during pregnancy will have a beneficial and knock-on effect on the health of the developing baby which it will carry through into its adult life. This is a role of the midwife that should be more recognised, encouraged and promoted.

Janet Davies, Director of Nursing and Service Delivery, Royal College of Nursing said:

Nursing staff are absolutely integral to public health and this conference is an important step towards recognising that contribution, and drawing on the expertise of nurses. With growing pressure on hospitals from long term conditions it is increasingly important to focus on preventative care and health promotion initiatives, which trained and experienced nurses are well-placed to support and deliver. The conference is also an opportunity to celebrate the role all nurses have in improving the quality of life for people around the country.

Professor Mike Kelly, Director of the NICE Centre for Public Health said:

This PHE conference is an important opportunity to highlight the vital role of nurses and midwives in improving health and promoting wellbeing. NICE public health guidance is developed with expert input from these and other health and care professionals, and clearly sets out how nurses and midwives can deliver key evidence-based interventions that make a real difference to the communities they work with.

Notes to Editors

About Public Health England

Public Health England is a new executive agency of the Department of Health that took up its full responsibilities on 1 April, 2013. PHE works with national and local government, industry and the NHS to protect and improve the nation’s health and support healthier choices and will be addressing inequalities by focusing on removing barriers to good health. To find out more visit our website, follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk.

Conference takes place on Wednesday 26 June 2013 at:

The Kia Oval

Surrey Country Cricket Club
SE11 5SS

Key speakers include:

Professor Viv Bennett, Director of Nursing, Public Health England and Department of Health; Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive, Public Health England; Professor Steve Field, Deputy Medical Director, NHS England and Health Inequalities and Chair, National Inclusion Health Board

Public Health England Press Office
Tel: 020 7654 8400
Out of hours telephone: 020 8200 4400


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