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Changes to eligibility to the FPH category of Fellowship

Fellowship for Defined Specialists – further details

In May 2012, the FPH Board agreed that from 1 July 2012 newly registered defined specialists should automatically be offered Membership through exemption, instead of Fellowship through exemption. FPH recognises that the timing of the announcement of this change was not handled well and also might disadvantage individuals who were in the final stages of working towards their defined specialist portfolio. It was agreed that a plan should be developed to ensure that these people were not disadvantaged and that there was a route in the future whereby defined specialists could attain Fellowship.

The FPH Board has now agreed the following changes to the original decision:

a) Defined specialist registrants with the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) who have submitted a portfolio by 1 July 2013 will still automatically be eligible for Fellowship through exemption.
b) Defined specialists who submit a portfolio to the UKPHR after 1 July 2013 will be offered FPH Membership (MFPH) through exemption upon registration with the UKPHR.
c) There will be a new potential route to Fellowship open for defined specialists who are admitted to Membership.
d) The Fellowship by distinction route will be developed for this. This leads to the award of Fellowship through individual assessment of a candidate’s contribution to public health practice, policy or research or to the specialty of public health. This is a similar process as that used for other groups of public health professionals who do not qualify by the exemption route.  

FPH will be directly contacting those individuals that we are aware have been caught up in these changes and who have recently registered as defined specialists. Those defined specialists who have already been awarded Fellowship prior to 1 July 2013 will be unaffected and continue as Fellows of FPH with their benefits of Fellowship remaining unchanged.

FPH has always supported the concept that public health is strongest as a multi-disciplinary specialty, and it was a key advocate for public health specialist posts to be open to any candidate who had demonstrated the appropriate competences, irrespective of their professional background. To support this process, FPH has worked to open the consultant Appointments Advisory Committee (AAC) process to suitably qualified non-medical candidates, to open public health training schemes to all professional groups, to recognise the achievements of those already in senior positions and to ensure that there was a comparable system of regulation to that which already existed for public health specialists from a medical or dental background.  This included support for a system of recognising the expertise of those who were already in senior roles in public health to demonstrate their competence through a retrospective portfolio route run by the UKPHR that would be available for a time-limited period. For those individuals already in senior posts in specialised areas of public health, FPH accepted that it was appropriate for their expertise to be relevant to their existing specialised senior role, as measured by the defined specialist route offered by the UKPHR and was pleased to offer such candidates Fellowship of FPH. This catch-up system has been in operation since 2007.

With the emergence of the issues raised in the government’s white paper around regulation, FPH has developed a clear position on its vision for the demonstration and maintenance of professional competence and its statutory regulation and has worked hard to advocate our key messages. At its May 2012 meeting the FPH Board of Trustees re-stated the FPH position that new public health specialists should be competent at specialist level across all public health competency areas and that specialisation within public health should be additional to this generic competence. The decision on Fellowship is a consequence of this position.

FPH recognises the value of Defined Specialists in the workforce and the vast contributions they make to delivering public health outcomes and was pleased to support the programme for retrospective recognition for those Defined Specialists who had been working at consultant level before specialist registration had been available to non-medical public health staff. However, noting the Board’s position, it is not appropriate for people who gain specialist registration via the defined specialist route in the future to also be automatically awarded Fellowship of FPH. Read the benefits of Membership which include post-nominal letters and full voting rights.

This change does not affect any registrant's status with the UKPHR or eligibility for consultant appointments.

Written: 02/07/2012 , last modified: 07/03/2013