Public Health Medicine involves health promotion, and prevention of disease at a population level. A public health specialist may have a non-medical background. Those undertaking public health training often come from a variety of academic or vocational backgrounds.
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Public Health Training Route
Applicants are accepted from a wide variety of backgrounds including medicine, nursing, teaching, and environmental health, with the eligibility criteria varying dependent on the candidate’s background. Applicants from medicine should be eligible for full registration with the GMC and have a current license to practice. They also need two years of postgraduate medical experience in addition to
- evidence of current employment in a Foundation Programme affiliated with the UK foundation programme office,
- at least 12 months’ experience after full GMC registration, or equivalent, and
- evidence they have achieved foundation competencies in the three years before the intended start date – from a Foundation Programme that is affiliated with the UKFPO, or an equivalent.
Public Health Training and Job Progression
The Public Health training programme involves five years of full-time study, including a one-year academic course and four years in speciality training posts. All trainees must gain experience in at least two different training locations in addition to experience working in health protection. The training curriculum covers nine key areas that relate to three domains of public health – Health Protection, Health Improvement and Healthcare Public Health. Furthermore, those who want to develop special interests can select special interest options in Health Improvement, Health Protection, Health and Social Service Quality, Public Health Information and Intelligence, and Academic PH.
Trainees generally take the Part A examination of the MFPH within 12 to 28 months of the commencement of training, and Part B when there is at least two full years of training left.
After completion of the speciality training programme, registrars are eligible for specialist registration. Registrars form a medical background can register with the GMC as specialists. Experienced consultants can take on senior roles in local authorities or in PH England, working as strategic directors.
Academic Public Health Training
Trainees interested in an academic career can undertake speciality training alongside training in research and education.
In 2017, the competition ratio at CT1/ST1 for Public Health Medicine was 9.32, with 718 applications for 77 posts.
In December 2017, there were
- 9 consultants,
- 3 associate specialists,
- 1 speciality doctor,
- 74 speciality registrars,
- 4 core trainees,
- 46 F2 trainees, and
- 3 F1 trainees.
The salary for NHS consultants ranges from £76,000 to £102, 500, and for speciality doctors from £37,500 to £70,000. The salary for doctors in training ranges from £26,350 to £45,750.
A Day in the Life of a Public Health Specialist
Consultants either lead or work with senior colleagues to plan and develop policies and programmes that aim to influence the health of the population. Further responsibilities include management of staff, supervision of trainees, delivery of core training, and commissioning research projects. Consultants generally work in local authorities and for PH England. However, some consultants work in universities and the NHS.