Helping clinicians improve the health of their communities: The Beddoes Fellows Programme
Gabriel J. Scally, Julie A. Imtiaz, Robert M. Bethune, Amber E.R. Young, William Ward, Hugh J. Herzig6, Rohit Shankar and Richard A. Laugharne
The importance of prevention in medical practice has been recognised for well over a century. In recent years however, the amount of engagement in preventative medicine has lessened as consultants have been concentrating on achieving targets and the conditions of their contracts have become more specific and service driven. In response to this situation, the NHS in the South West of England drew up a programme called the Beddoes Fellows programme to encourage doctors engaged in clinical practice in the South West to spend some of their time advocating the primary prevention of disease and injury at a local level. The areas that they choose to focus on were as follows: • Prevention of paediatric scalds. • Addressing shortfalls in immunisation rates. • Addressing unhealthy excessive exercise. • Raising the profile of mental health issues through a radio phone-in programme. Although at the time of writing this article the projects were not fully completed the results from these projects were already beginning to speak for themselves. Indeed the contribution that primary preventative medicine can make to individuals, communities, healthcare professionals and NHS services can not be underestimated. At a time of tightened public sector funding it is apparent that primary prevention has rarely been more important as the contribution that prevention can make to the reduction in demand for NHS services is far from insignificant. This paper highlights the importance of not only clinicians leading and being advocates of primary prevention medicine but also having mechanisms and structures in place to support clinical consultants in this work.