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This content is taken from the King's College London's online course, Understanding NHS Values: Becoming a Nurse or Midwife. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds Ramps to make it easier to get my chair up, these handles in the bathroom so I don’t fall down the loo, and new handrails, but of all the things they did to adapt my house for me now, I’d say the stair lift has changed my life the most. Stairs are always going to be a challenge for me, but not in my home. My occupational therapist came here on a Wednesday to meet with the engineer. They thought about all the solutions that would help get my life back. They really looked at everything I used to see how it could be improved for me now. The engineers came and made all the changes.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 seconds And then once it been installed, my therapist showed me how to use it properly. So I’m independent again.

Improving lives: an introduction

We strive to improve health and wellbeing and people’s experiences of the NHS. We cherish excellence and professionalism wherever we find it – in the everyday things that make people’s lives better as much as in clinical practice, service improvements and innovation. We recognise that all have a part to play in making ourselves, patients and our communities healthier.
NHS Constitution (Department of Health 2015)

The next NHS value we’ll look at is improving lives. This encompasses improving the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities, which will be the focus of this activity.

When we think of improving lives, we often see it as being about supporting individuals to achieve optimum wellbeing and independence. However, there is also a need to reduce avoidable illnesses, meaning that prevention and public health are also important in improving lives.

This learning activity looks at what public health and health protection are, and introduces some of the theory behind public health.

By the time you complete this activity, you should be able to:

  • define public health and health promotion
  • outline two commonly used theories of public health.

Note that this activity reflects the Five Year Forward View (NHS England 2014), which outlines a clear view for the NHS, and identifies public health and health promotion as key in improving the lives of the population in the future.


Although the reading will deepen your understanding it is not essential to the completion of the course.

NHS England (2014) Five Year Forward View. NHS England.

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding NHS Values: Becoming a Nurse or Midwife

King's College London