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FPH welcomes additional support to the specialist workforce

A fellowship programme and extra training posts have been introduced to boost the specialist public health training workforce.

Health Education England (HEE) and the Chief Medical Office have been instrumental in supporting the capacity of the specialist public health workforce through increasing the number of training posts and funding the fellowship pilot programme. Their on-going commitment is very encouraging for the specialty.

There has been change for many working in public health following the transfer of public health to local authorities and the creation of Public Health England (PHE), both of which have provided an opportunity to enhance specialist training to build additional capability and capacity across the whole public health system.

Dr Michael Bannon, Lead Dean for Public Health Medicine, said: "Public Health is a small specialty but an important one as identified in the NHS five-year forward plan. 

"As Dean, I have noticed the positive impact increasing training numbers can have on a specialty, and public health is no exception, with a second year of 100% fill rate of high calibre registrars to the posts."

HEE has financially supported the creation of eight additional posts to the national specialty training programme (England only).

The fellowship pilot programme is an opportunity to support registrars (medical and non-medical) to consider a future career in academic or global health public health. The pilot will run for two years for a cohort of four registrars appointed nationally.

The academic fellowship will provide registrars with an opportunity to develop academic and research skills and explore a career in academia; but, regardless of the career path of the individual, it is hoped the fellowship will lead to an increase of the pool of specialists with academic skills in service posts.

Recent challenges, such as those posed by the Ebola outbreak, further emphasise the importance of global health.

Dr Bannon said: "It is very useful for registrars to have the opportunity to learn and experience different systems. As with all placements, it is important that they are set up properly, and the competences that will be met are clearly defined."

Congratulations to the first cohort of fellows who successfully completed a national competitive recruitment phase:

Serena Luchenski, Academic Fellowship, Health Education Central and North West London
Serena Luchenski





Kelly Mackenzie, Academic Fellowship, Health Education East Midlands

Kelly MacKenzie






Matthew Neilson, Global Health Fellowship, Health Education Yorkshire and the HumberMatthew Neilson





Katherine Russell, Global Health Fellowship, Health Education North West LondonKatie Russell





Plans are underway to further extend the fellowship pilot to develop a local authority leadership fellowship which will involve mentoring by a chief executive.

Dr Bannon said: "This is work in progress, but I am very excited by the engagement of PHE, the Local Government Association, the Faculty of Public Health, the Association for Directors for Public Health and chief executives to work together to shape the placements."

The pilot will be evaluated throughout the two years, and a longitudinal study will continue to follow the careers of the fellows to further evaluate the impact of the fellowships. Dr Bannon hopes the pilot will "demonstrate positive outcome and becomes an established model from little funding but has a big impact on our future public health workforce".

Special thanks to colleagues who have been committed to getting this programme off the ground:

David Walker, Michael Bannon, Premila Webster, Eugene Milne, Brendan Mason, Richard Jarvis, Rob Cooper, Branwen Thomas, Annette Luker, Mark Salter, Grant Fisher and Promeeta Chandra.

Applications for the academic, global health and local authority system leadership fellowships will open in autumn 2015.

Written: 20/11/2015 , last modified: 18/10/2016