By James Gore
What are the challenges facing registrars and newly qualified public health consultants today? What training opportunities are there to fully maximise employment potential? These were the questions raised during a session at the FPH Annual Conference. Addressing the concerns and speaking on a range of topics were a varied panel including Judy Jones, Department of Health, Anna Middlemiss, specialty registrar Yorkshire & Humber, Trudi Kemp, a public health consultant from St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust, Brendan Mason, training programme director in Wales, and Michael Bannon, lead postgraduate dean. FPH’s academic registrar, David Williams, chaired the session.
Judy Jones asked how well we have responded to organisational change, system reform, policy drift, fragmentation and divergence. Stressing the importance of now needing to think about things differently, due to the current radical shifts in organisation, she highlighted how the current changes affect everyone and not just those coming out of training programmes.
Trudi Kemp talked about acute trust placements, emphasising that they are not uncommon, Usually specialist placements, taken post-part A and often post-part B exams, they allow registrars to work with clinical teams in their natural habitat, taking the registrar out of their comfort zone and allowing them to function at a senior level.
Anna Middlemiss related her experiences of her placement with West Yorkshire Police in their Drugs and Offender Management Unit. She explained how it provides an opportunity to practise public health in a completely different environment, as well as an opportunity to work at a high level and gain first-hand experience of another public health organisation. Sometimes it was important to do something completely different in order to appreciate the public health skills you have.
David Williams concluded that it was clear that there was a lot that could be done with the systems we already have in place, but that we need the imagination and creativity to do it.