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Protecting People's Health (Health Protection)

People working in health protection are responsible for protecting the health of populations from infectious diseases and environmental hazards related to chemical or radiation exposures. The roles include:

  • scientists who provide laboratory work
  • doctors and nurses responsible for controlling disease outbreaks
  • communications officers who keep the public informed when a problem occurs
Example Roles Responsibilities
Biomedical Scientist (microbiology) Biomedical scientists usually work in NHS and Health Protection Agency (HPA) laboratories, investigating samples of body tissue and fluids to diagnose disease, monitor treatments or track disease outbreaks. They also find work in other organizations including the National Blood Service, pharmaceutical industry, university, Medical Research Council (MRC) and forensic labs. Long-term career prospects include laboratory management, research and teaching, or wider health protection roles depending on individual interests.
Emergency Planning Coordinator Emergency planning/management coordinators play a key role in planning for, protecting and maintaining public safety. Emergency planning professionals work as part of a team to anticipate and respond to threats to public safety, such as acts of terrorism, natural disasters and major industrial accidents. The profession is growing in scope in the UK due to increased public recognition of the need to prepare for major incidents. The key areas of work are emergency planning and business continuity management.
Environmental Health Officer Environmental health officers (EHOs) use their specialist skills and knowledge to develop, co-ordinate, implement and enforce public health policies. They work to ensure that people have a better quality of life and live within a healthier society. EHOs work towards improving, monitoring and enforcing public/environmental health standards. Important aspects of their work include: food safety and nutrition; workplace health and safety; housing conditions; noise levels; odour emissions; industrial waste; animal health; contaminated land; air/pollution control; and communicable diseases. EHOs tend to be employed within distinct divisions of regulation, such as food safety, health and safety, housing or environmental protection.
Infection Control Nurse Infection Control nurses establish and maintain effective and efficient systems for the prevention, investigation, control and surveillance of infections in the workplace. Infection control nurses need to provide strong leadership that inspires and motivates others to ensure all infection control policy and procedures are implemented. He or she would normally have the authority through specialist knowledge to advise agreed standards of infection prevention and control care service delivery to patients, their carers and all hospital staff.
Screening Facilitator Screening facilitators are usually based in primary care organisations, or organisations that support primary care service delivery. They provide support to maximise the uptake of immunisation and screening services, working with GP surgeries and with campaigns to promote screening.

If you would like to see more roles in this area, do a role search or a career story search in Protecting people's health.

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