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Part B Exam Content

The standard required in the OSPHE will be that which could be reasonably expected of a public health trainee with at least two years' (whole time equivalent) of service-based training left, and is normally achievable by someone in training after passing Part A MFPH.

The examiners will assess candidates’ ability to use knowledge and skills appropriately in public health settings.

The OSPHE is a test of skills and attitudes relating to every day public health issues in commonly experienced settings. The examination is a role-play examination run to time to represent the practice of public health in everyday settings and are mostly based on the real experiences of question setting examiners in the workplace. You will not be required to be familiar with NHS procedures or practices. The OSPHE is a 'show how' assessment rather than a 'knowledge' or 'know how' assessment, which will already have been completed in Part A.

The following skills will be tested:

  • The ability to demonstrate presenting communication skills (verbal and non verbal) appropriately in typical public health settings: presenting to a person or audience.
  • The ability to demonstrate listening and comprehending communication skills (verbal and non verbal) appropriately in typical public health settings: listening and responding appropriately.
  • The ability to assimilate relevant information from a variety of sources and settings and using it appropriately from a public health perspective.
  • The ability to demonstrate appropriate reasoning, analytical and judgement skills, giving a balanced view within public health settings.
  • The ability to handle uncertainty, the unexpected, challenge and conflict appropriately.

The subject matter used in the examinations will draw on material from a wide range of topics encountered in everyday public health practice. The scenarios themselves will also be varied across the six stations of the examination.

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Topic areas

  1. Health Protection (including Infection, Immunisation, Screening and Environmental subject matter).
  2. Health Promotion and Health Improvement (including lifestyle and behavioural interventions at individual and population level, partnership working and wider determinants of health).
  3. Quality healthcare: technical aspects of commissioning which require expert advice or assessment utilising public health skills. Examples include the application of technical material to health or health care provision.
  4. Quality healthcare: Implementation of health or healthcare interventions and working with patients, the public, professionals or organisations.

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Types of scenario

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    1. Media/high profile 'public':
      media - newspaper, radio pre-recorded;
      member of parliament or local council leader;
      press officer of NHS or partner organisation.
    2. Other non health service public health ‘specialist’/key 'public health improvement' partner:
      meeting with/briefing for senior professional (e.g. professional whose job focus has strong public health element such as Director of Children's Services or an informed chair of a non health or other organisation);
      meeting with or briefing for new PH trainees or non-specialist staff;
      meeting with other senior officer of council or other partner organisation to discuss PH actions.
    3. The Lay public:
      meeting with local councillor/non-NHS health partnership chair or member;
      meeting with member of the public on an issue pertinent to them;
      meeting with representative of patient forum or pressure or lobby group.
    4. Healthcare staff - clinical and general management:
      briefing to chair of NHS committee or board (non-clinical);
      meeting with healthcare manager - commissioning or CE or other senior;
      meeting with healthcare professional involved in care delivery - GP/Consultant/Nurse/ AHP.
  • In addition to the topic areas, there are four types of scenario reflective of mainstream public health practice:

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