Tuesday, 16 September 2014

On our relationship with public health...


In an excellent piece on vaping and e-cigs, Clive Bates describes our relationship with public health - or rather public health's relationship with us the public:

They are the ‘public’ in public health. They should be a matter of professional interest to you.  In your profession,  you need to understand them and why they do what they do, in order to make professional public health judgements. You need to do this with high standards of professional conduct and to approach them with humility and empathy. You probably have something to learn and you might even get to understand what inspires them. But they have no similar obligation to you. They have other jobs, other lives and no professional need to understand you or engage with you. If you think “there is a lot of mistrust & misunderstanding on both sides” that is your problem, not their problem.   Their interest in you, if any, is that you might spoil what they are doing, that you are making provocative or unfounded remarks about them or what they do, or you are dismissing their experience as mere anecdote.

I do feel that this fact about relationships is a lesson for public servants everywhere and especially those in public health who seem to believe they have some sort of duty to remove our rights to choose.


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