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Specialist Training

The Training Programme | Support Roles During Training

Medical instruments in a tray

The Health Education Wessex School of Public Health has developed a comprehensive programme of multidisciplinary education and training in public health. The specialist training programme is a part of this and is open to people from medical and other backgrounds.


The Training Programme


By the end of training the registrar will need to have passed the Part A and Part B exams of the Faculty of Public Health and to have demonstrated competency in all the areas identified by the Faculty of Public Health as being necessary to be able to practise at a specialist level in public health. There are three phases of training. For more information, see the Faculty's curriculum for training. 

The training programme lasts four years. An additional year on an academic Masters course is funded for those who need it to provide the theoretical base for public health. The course used is likely to be undertaken at the University of Southampton. This is undertaken at the beginning of training and will help the registrar to pass the Part A exam of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine.

Part A Exam:

This is a knowledge based exam frequently taken soon after the end of the MSc in Public Health. Click here for Faculty information about Part A exam.  

Part B Exam:

The Part B exam is an Observed Structured Public Health Exam ( OSPHE ) usually taken around 12 months after the Part A exam. It is comprised of six “stations” designed to simulate common situations in which public health specialists may find themselves. At each “station” registrars are provided with information that they need to assimilate in a short period of time and then communicate this in a way appropriate to the scenario in which they are placed. For more information, see the Faculty's information OSPHE exam.

Service Experience:

This will enable the registrar to address all the work based learning outcomes that the Faculty of Public Health has identified in the curriculum. The aim is to have covered satisfactorily all the learning outcomes by the end of training. The training locations in Wessex include: Hampshire County Council, Southampton City Council, Portsmouth City Council,  Isle of Wight Council, Bournemouth Borough Council, Borough of Poole Council, Dorset County Council.


The experience to do this will be gained initially in Public Health teams in Local Authority and through placements later in other locations e.g. Public Health England including Health Protection team, and other locations relevant to training.

Health Protection and On Call:

A three month placement with the Wessex Public Health England Centre (Health Protection Team) is arranged early after finishing the MSc in Public Health. After this registrars are normally expected to be part of the on-call rota for health protection across Wessex. On call commitment are never expected to exceed a 1:9 commitment.

Academic Experience

Academic guidance and support is provided through the Academic Co-ordinator. Academic experience can be obtained at the University of Southampton at the Public Health Sciences and Medical Statistics and the more service orientated NIHR Evaluations, Trials and Studies Co-ordinating Centre (NETSCC). The scheme has one Academic Clinical Fellow post for  2013 based at Public Health Sciences and Medical Statistics.

Wider Experience:

To gain wider experience, placements in other organisations (e.g. Public Health England Centre (London), Department of Health, or with an international placement). These need to fit with a work plan to meet learning outcomes and agreed with the educational supervisor and programme director. Sometimes support from the academic supervisor is also required as well as that of the Postgraduate Dean.

Annual Review of Competence Progression ( ARCP ):

Progress in training is reviewed annually through the ARCP panel. The panel confirms whether the trainee is progressing satisfactorily and can move on to the next year of training or whether an alternative arrangement is necessary.

Educational and Project/Attachment Supervisors

An Educational Supervisor has responsibility for the overall supervision and management of a specified registrar's educational progress during a training placement or series of placements. Each registrar will be allocated an Educational Supervisor.

The Educational Supervisor may from time to time consider it more suitable for a registrar to work with someone else who has specific abilities relevant to particular learning outcomes needed by a registrar. This person is the project/attachment supervisor.

Quality Assurance

Maintaining and ensuring consistency of high quality local training is important and the programme has introduced some additional measures to help achieve this.

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Support and Roles During Training

Educational Supervisor - Each registrar will be allocated a trainer who will act as his / her educational supervisor overseeing his / her training. The registrar and educational supervisor are expected to meet regularly, agree a work programme to address the Faculty competencies to be addressed and periodically to review progress overall. The educational supervisor will provide the registrar with support and guidance. Specific pieces of work may be carried out under the guidance of someone other than the educational supervisor. This project supervisor / trainer will provide day to day oversight and guidance for agreed pieces of work.

Trainee - The registrar is expected to take control of his / her training and develop his / her own plans to accomplish what is required by the end of training. The training programme is there to guide and support this, the level of support being designed to match the level of experience the registrar has and the stage of training the trainee has reached.

Academic Support - Academic support is provided through the Univesity of Southampton academic department based in the Southampton General Hospital (the Public Health Sciences and Medical Statistics and Public Health Nutrition Groups). This provides advice on academic aspects of training and is of particular help when preparing, for example, a publication.

Buddy - The registrar will be allocated a buddy soon after he / she arrives. The buddy is another registrar already in the training programme. Their role is to be available to the new registrar to answer questions or gain advice and generally to take an interest in the well being of the new arrival.

Programme Director - The programme director co-ordinates and supports specialist training across Wessex. She also works with the Manager of the Public Health Development Programme to achieve a comprehensive programme to support training and development for all groups of staff interested in developing in public health.

Wessex Registrar Group - Registrars meet monthly for half a day. Trainees share with their colleagues in a structured way issues arising in their work, receive feedback, learn from this process and identify action points arising from the discussion.

Business Meeting - Registrars meet, usually on the same day as the experiential learning programme, to discuss training issues. The chairman is elected by the registrars and acts as a link with the programme director for issues that affect the registrars as a group.

Study Leave - Approval of the need and suitability of the study leave requested is required by the trainer and financial approval is given by the programme director. Local courses are also arranged as required.

Public Health Library - Each training location has a small public health library comprised of textbooks particularly relevant to the Part A exam, but also to other types of knowledge needed during training.

Employment Contracts - These are held by the Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust on behalf of Health Education Wessex for the period of training. It is expected that each training placement will also issue an honorary contract for the time the trainee is with it.

School of Public Health - This is the formal organisational arrangement established by the Deanery to ensure the provision of good training. The Head of School is also the Training Programme Director. The Head of School is supported by the School Board, comprised of lead trainers, a registrar representative and the Faculty Adviser.


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