The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has written to both Liz Truss MP and Rishi Sunak MP calling on them to commit to supporting environmental health if they are successful in the leadership contest for the Conservative and Unionist Party.
Ms Truss and Mr Sunak are down to the final two in the contest to become the next Leader of the Conservative Party, and the UK’s next Prime Minister, following the resignation of Boris Johnson MP last month. The winner will be chosen by members of the Conservative Party, with the victor being announced on 5th September 2022.
In a letter to both candidates, CIEH set out the vital function played by Environmental Health Professionals (EHPs) throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, along with their integral role in protecting and promoting food safety, housing standards, public health, and our natural environment.
Environmental health is an invaluable early intervention resource. By protecting public health, EHPs play a vital role in preventing serious illness in our communities and reducing pressure on our NHS.
The letter also makes clear the looming workforce crisis gripping the profession, noting serious issues with resource and recruitment, and calling on the candidates to acknowledge the important role environmental health plays in keeping our communities safe, and to commit to maintaining the profession as a strong and invaluable resource.
Dr Phil James, CIEH Chief Executive, said: “Environmental health is a vital resource that needs protecting.
From promoting food safety and protecting housing standards, to improving public health and enhancing our natural environment, our members work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.
Their essential role in supporting efforts to combat Covid-19 only made the need to maintain this resource all the more clear.
However, the profession is in trouble. Workforce and funding issues are threatening to erode the capabilities of EHPs, potentially creating a cascade of negative impacts across our communities.
We are calling on both Ms Truss and Mr Sunak to acknowledge the work our members undertake and to commit to ensuring the profession is both sustainable and affective.”