Published: 22/07/2004, Volume II4, No. 5915 Page 8

Three new practitioner roles have been designed in the National Public Health Service for Wales using the Skills for Health competence framework, which is helping to inform job design, professional development and training.

The new standards for public health practice (relevant to a wide range of practitioners below specialist level in the NPHS, the NHS, local government and the voluntary sector in Wales) were the focus of a national workshop organised for stakeholders last month.

Welsh National Assembly head of public health development Peter Farley says: 'The Welsh Assembly government has supported the development of national occupational standards for public health practice from the outset.The public health service has inherited staff from a number of separate organisations with a variety of job descriptions and recruiting methods.We expect the framework to help to bring a set of common standards.'

Already the framework has been used by NPHS north Wales regional director Dr Sandra Payne, the lead for developing public health teams throughout Wales, to design three new roles.

The roles - principal and senior public health/health promotion practitioner, and public health/health promotion practitioner - are designed to reflect the level of skills needed by local health boards to deliver the service.

'We have asked our existing workforce to consider the specifications of the new roles and decide which best applies to them, ' says Dr Payne.'When we look at the whole of Wales and our health promotion resource, it consists of a wide variety of staff skills and backgrounds with a huge wealth of experience.We want to map that resource and, working alongside local government, decide which teams need what skills.'