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Assessment aims to determine progress towards specific learning outcomes.

There are two aspects to the assessment of training. These are:

  1. Assessing competence to do the job
    Responsibility for this lies with the Faculty of Public Health (FPH) and is achieved by:
  2. The assessment of satisfactory progress in the training programme
    Responsibility for this lies with employing deaneries and is achieved through:
    • an annual review of the progress trainees are making in training - the ARCP/RITA process.


A normally progressing trainee would expect to complete specialty public health training within five years (whole-time equivalent). However, some trainees will progress more slowly and may require targeted support.

Remediation is tailored to the individual and to the particular milestone or learning outcome causing difficulty.

Principles are:

  • early identification of difficulty and particular need
  • focused support to address identified need
  • regular monitoring and feedback to avoid surprises
  • appropriate evidence of progress which supports all decisions taken.

Remediation is particular to the trainee and will be under the overall direction of the Training Programme Director (TPD). The educational supervisor will be pivotal in targeting remediation.

Assessments are carefully and fully integrated and problems may be identified at any time in training. There are also specific checkpoints at which the need for remediation may be identified. These include examinations, regular work based assessments and RITA/ARCP.

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The Part A MFPH Examination

The Part A examination is intended to test a candidate's knowledge, understanding and basic application of the scientific bases of public health. The examination syllabus is blueprinted against the core learning outcomes in the curriculum.

The examination is usually taken within 12 to 18 months of starting training. Passing the examination enables the trainee to progress from phase 1 to phase 2 of training and is needed before starting out-of-hours duties.

For further information on the Part A examination see the Examinations section of the website.

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Assessing the trainee's ability to successfully apply knowledge to carry out the functions of public health is done in the following ways:

Part B MFPH Examination

The Part B examination is a 'shows how' assessment of the candidate's ability to apply relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes to the practice of public health. It is designed to be taken and passed with at least two full years of training left.

It takes the format of an examination used in clinical training - the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) - but uses public health rather than clinical scenarios. The Part B examination is also called the Objective Structure Public Health Examination (OSPHE ).

Further information about the Part B examination can be found in the Examinations section of the website.

Employer/Work Based Appraisals

The employer appraisal follows the ARCP and uses the outcome of the ARCP as its basis.

An appraisal is an individual and private planned review of progress, focusing on the trainees, achievements and future activity. It allows key training and development needs to be identified for the year ahead as well as objectives, which relate to the appraisee's personal and/or professional development.

The workplace based appraisal forms are to be completed annually by the StR and their educational supervisor.

Please see Appendix 7 of the Gold Guide for further details on the Work Based Appraisal process.

In Work Assessment

'Shows how' competence is assessed in the workplace by accredited trainers through a variety of methods including:

  • multiple-source feedback
  • work-based discussion
  • direct observation of practice
  • structured assessment of components of daily public health practice.

Assessment may take place in a real-life situation or in a simulated environment.

As training progresses trainees are expected to demonstrate the maintenance of performance in increasingly varied, challenging and less controlled situations. Therefore learning outcomes will need to be demonstrated and assessed more than once, often several times, to confirm progression.

At the end of training the trainee will need to demonstrate a level of performance comparable with that of a consultant rather than a trainee simply delivering a series of more clearly defined projects.

At the end of training, knowledge, understanding, skills and competences need to be integrated, and the trainee needs to show that she/he can function in complex situations. Such performance should be robust under pressure and be able to withstand the demands of increasing responsibility.

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LeAD Medical Leadership Resource LeAD is a useful and free e-learning resource to help existing and prospective consultants develop their understanding of how their role contributes to managing and leading health services. The e-learning has been created by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement in partnership with e-Learning for Healthcare.

LeAD is based on the Medical Leadership Competency Framework, which is integrated within the 2010 Public Health Curriculum.

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