Lucia Scally - North West Scheme Coordinator

October's "2 Minutes With...", PHPN's regular feature for the North-West Population Health & Prevention Network caught up with Lucia Scally, North West Scheme Coordinator for CHAMPs Cheshire & Merseyside Public Health Collaborative.

Tell us about your role...

My role as the North West Scheme Coordinator for the Public Health Practitioner Scheme means that I've developed the North Wests approach to the local delivery of the Practitioner Scheme. I support the practitioners in completing their retrospective portfolio of evidence to demonstrate their competence as a Public Health Practitioner.

How did you get into your area of work?

My career background is in local government health and social care and more latterly Public Health. Through my career I have had an interest in workforce development. This post was advertised as an opportunity to develop and deliver a North West Scheme, which appealed to me as I enjoy shaping developments, and reviewing and continually improving service delivery arrangements. Which involved investigating how other schemes are delivered and drawing on this learning to shape the North Wests scheme. At the point of writing this we are now in our first operational Scheme year with our first cohort.

Tell us about your public health career journey...

My Local Government career spans thirty plus years. I have over four years experience working as a Senior Manager in a Public Health Team reporting to the Director of Public Health. During this time, I carried out directly the recommissioning of several Public Health services including sexual health services and drug and alcohol services.

In my Senior Manager Public Health role, I also undertook a range of other programmes of work such as; Asylum Seeker Dispersal, Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation and Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children humanitarian programmes, supporting the Domestic Abuse Partnership, one off work for Manchester City DPH during the commissioning of a Local Care Organisation to deliver integrated out of hospital care, Flu programme project management and working as Directorate lead for Cheshire & Merseyside Quality Surveillance Group.

These programmes of work included determining the approach, agreeing the work to be completed, with a plan for achieving this, and then carrying out the work either independently or with multi agency partners. This involved facilitating an understanding of the work, and for a number of these work areas securing stakeholders active involvement and contribution to the work. Leadership, management and effective communication was essential to realise the collective effort required.

From September 2017 to November 2018 I had a Project Management lead role for the Cheshire & Merseyside Sexual Health Commissioning Pilot with PHE on behalf of the Cheshire & Merseyside Directors of Public Health.This involved shaping the work streams and carrying out the work with a range of stakeholders.

Tell us a bit more...

CHAMPs are the Public Health Collaborative for the Cheshire & Merseyside footprint. CHAMPs provide a range of technical and project specific leads to assist or lead footprint wide projects. By doing this means that the nine local authorities that comprise the Cheshire & Merseyside footprint all benefit from the project work being done once together. The CHAMPs office is in Bromborough and is hosted by Wirral Borough Council.

What have been your career highlights / greatest career achievements?

There have been many highlights over my career, and the most memorable often tend to be the most complex:

  • The work to develop and redesign approaches within former day service settings for people with a disability and mental health needs that built on skills and strengths whilst maintaining health and safety where those needs were paramount was hugely rewarding.  This had a large workforce component as well as wider stakeholder engagement work.
  • Establishing an integrated commissioning pilot for primary care and local authority adults and children’s services, achieved greater collaborative working and understanding of the commissioning responsibilities for both organisations.
  • Having the opportunity to work within a Public Health team and to shape the commissioning of public health services, and leading on several significant projects was very rewarding, challenging, and satisfying.
  • Now the Public Health Practitioner Scheme and the potential of our first cohort successfully completing their portfolios and going on to register with United Kingdom Public Health Registration (UKPHR) body is a potential greatest career achievement in the making.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I enjoy a challenge, and generally something that is complex, that requires understanding, shaping, and working with a broad range of stakeholders is attractive to me. This keeps me challenged, and ensures I myself continually develop and stretch myself, to maximise my potential, and to contribute thee best way I can to improve the health and wellbeing of the populations we serve.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Engagement with a range of individuals, and supporting the practitioners, assessors and verifiers during the 12-month cohort term.

On the flipside, what do you enjoy least about your job?

There’s nothing I would identify as liking least. I think it’s more about managing the work and dealing with the additional challenges that occur as you progress.

Lastly, would you recommend your job to others? If so, why?

Yes, I would recommend the North West Practitioner Scheme Coordinator to others. You have an opportunity in this role to support practitioners to achieve their practitioner registration with UKPHR, and to support the assessors and verifiers in carrying out their roles within the scheme, so that UKPHR are assured that  our practitioners are competent in all 34 Public Health Practitioner Standard areas.