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User requirements and understanding of public health networks in England
  1. D K Fahey1,
  2. E R Carson1,
  3. D G Cramp1,
  4. J A Muir Gray2
  1. 1City University, London, UK
  2. 2Institute of Health Sciences, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr D Fahey
 Public Health Department, 4th Floor, West Wing, Camden Primary Care Trust, St Pancras Hospital, St Pancras Way, London NW1 0PE, UK;


Background: The movement of public health professionals from health authorities to primary care trusts has increased their isolation and dependence on public health networks for communication.

Methods: A cross sectional survey of 60 public health professionals working in England was performed to determine their understanding of the term “public health network” and to explore the functions that they would like these networks to perform. It also assessed their attitudes towards a national network and towards individual, local, and national web sites to support these networks.

Results: The most popular functions were the support of CPD/education, the identification of expertise and maximisation of scarce resources, information sharing, and efficient information/knowledge management. The local and national networks and their web sites should provide information on current projects of the network and searches to identify people, expertise, and reports.

Conclusion: Public health professionals have a similar but broader understanding of the term “public health network” than that of the government with greater emphasis on sharing of information. The network is more likely to be successful if its priorities are maximising scarce resources, identification of expertise, CPD/education, and knowledge management.

  • STBoP, Shifting The Balance of Power
  • PCT, primary care trust
  • FPHM, Faculty of Public Health Medicine

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