Written evidence submitted by ADPH (RTR0136)

The Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) is the membership body for Directors of Public Health (DsPH) in the UK. It represents the professional views of all DsPH as the local leaders for the nation’s health. 

The Association has a heritage dating back over 160 years and is a collaborative organisation, working in partnership with others to strengthen the voice for public health. It seeks to improve and protect the health of the population through collating and presenting the views of DsPH; advising on public health policy and legislation at a local, regional, national and international level; facilitating a support network for DsPH; and providing opportunities for DsPH to develop professional practice.

Key Recommendations


The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on Public Health and the role of local public health teams led by the work of Public Health Specialists. The Public Health Specialist workforce is numerically small, compared with other parts of the healthcare workforce such as nurses, but it is critical. It not only provides key leaders such as DsPH but also the technical skills and knowledge in all domains of public health.

There is currently a crisis in public health capacity at a senior level, with a critical shortage of public health specialists which needs to be dealt with urgently. Without sustainable investment in the public health workforce, we will continue to be vulnerable to future pandemics and other health threats, will be unable to reduce inequalities effectively, and unable to prevent the burden of chronic ill health overwhelming the NHS.

The ADPH welcomes the opportunity to provide written evidence to Health and Social Care Committee. The submission below sets out ADPH’s views and recommendations for strengthening the public health workforce and addressing issues around recruitment, retention and training.

Retention & Recruitment Issues

Key Recommendations

1. Strengthen the specialist pipeline, by increasing training numbers and supporting portfolio applications

2. Provide sufficient resource for DsPH to employ public health analysts locally

3. Ensure there is sufficient health protection expertise in every local authority

4. Improve workforce intelligence to support workforce planning and mobility

5. Remove the barriers to workforce mobility, enabling portability of continuity of service and alignment of terms and conditions

6. Ensure Public Health Specialty training programmes placements continue to be provided across the whole system

7. Encourage secondments (national and regional to local and local to national and regional) as part of PH workforce development 


Association of Directors of Public Health

Jan 2022