Through social media and the website, members will have read that the work of the Institute is continuing, with progress on the education and qualification route to being an EHO, flexible training opportunities in relation to the various Community Training courses, regular meetings continuing by virtual means and responses to questions and queries being made.
In Scotland, the response to COVID-19 is being led by the Scottish Government and Public Health teams across the country. The significant differences in population, social habits and environment across Scotland mean that a locally led response is the right way to go.
The Institute and its Council members have been engaged with Scottish Government representatives on numerous occasions over the years and have fully participated in Scotland’s Public Health Reform programme, always promoting the role of Environmental Health, leading to the profession being firmly in the minds of senior Scottish Government representatives and NHS Scotland Directors of Public Health.
Environmental Health Officers are core public health professionals and Local Authority Environmental Health Services across Scotland are fully engaged with Public Health Teams, through the excellent networks in place, not least through the Society of Chief Officers of Environmental Health in Scotland, the very successful Scottish Health Protection Networks and the various regional networks which regularly meet in normal times. These established networks have proved invaluable in the current pandemic and are allowing for a coordinated response to COVID-19 across Scotland.
The skills and expertise of EHOs are currently being utilised in these networks on a daily basis, with contributions being made shown in the REHIS e-newsletter.
The Institute offers its support in any way it can, in relation to the response to COVID-19 and would lead on any work necessary to identify additional EHOs who may be required to support the work of the current local authority environmental health teams, particularly as the nation progresses to a contact tracing situation.
With many members of the Council working as EHOs within LA sector, the Institute’s support and assistance can be based on local knowledge and intelligence.
Should individuals be able and wish to volunteer to assist the national response, the website readyscotland.org gives this opportunity and your time can be put to the place of most need in your local area.