A letter has been received by REHIS in response to the letters published in The Herald newspaper regarding the current concerns over the environmental health profession. The letters by Tom Bell and John Crawford were published on the REHIS website. The letter in response can be read below: 

Dear President,

I would like to thank both John Crawford and Tom Bell for their excellent articles that appeared recently in the Glasgow Herald, which I would have missed had I not read these articles in the REHIS Newsletter.  I welcome that the Scottish Government is undertaking a review of the Public Health function.   It is critical that the Scottish Government not only recognise the core contribution made by the Environmental Health profession, but respond with positive action at time to improve the health of our nation. Too few politicians and the general public are aware of the vital contribution that environmental health, make to improve the fabric of the society in which we live.   We as a profession need to influence the decision makers, designers, planners that make decision which impact upon the health of our customers.  We must begin to influence attitudes and behaviours.  I welcome in particular the views expressed by Tom Bell, regarding succession planning, the limited courses for students to become qualified Environmental Health Officers and the uncertainty for their future in the profession.   Succession planning has never been as critical as it is at present within our profession.  Are we doing enough work in schools to influence career advisers, to make presentations in schools to give environmental health as a viable career for the 21 Century?

Local Authorities have for the last 10 years been continually pressurised to make savings every year and the environmental health profession has now been squeezed to a point that services the public has taken for granted in the past no longer exist.  Environmental health officers are solution focused who predominantly work in the background representing the people who live and work in Scotland dealing with remedying many of the injustices in society and making a positive contribution to improve the physical and mental health of our citizens. As a profession I think we have been relied too heavily on others to promote our profession.  Each and everyone of us need to read both John and Tom's articles and then start to identify what we have done at the end of each and every day to make the voice of Environmental Health to be heard within their own local community, through the multiple networking opportunities that are available for us all to influence.  We all need to make our voice heard, to protect the public we serve, in whatever small way we can.


Neil Doherty

MREHIS Chartered Environmental Health Officer

John Crawford and Tom Bell’s letters that were published in The Herald newspaper can be read here.