Residency // United Kingdom


Public Health in UK

EuroNet MRPH is represented in the UK by the Specialty Registrars Committee (SRC), a subgroup of the Education Committee of the UK Faculty of Public Health (FPH).

The Faculty of Public Health (FPH) is the standard setting body for specialists in public health in the United Kingdom.

FPH was established as a registered charity in 1972 following a central recommendation of the Royal Commission on Medical Education (1965-68). FPH is a joint faculty of the three Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom (London, Edinburgh and Glasgow) and also a member of the World Federation of Public Health Associations. Although an integral part of the three Royal Colleges, FPH is an independently constituted body with its own membership, governance structure and financial arrangements.

FPH is the professional home for more than 3,300 professionals working in public health. Members come from a diverse range of professional backgrounds (including clinical, academic, policy) and are employed in a variety of settings, usually working at a strategic or specialist level. FPH is a strategic organisation and, as such, works collaboratively, drawing on the specialist skills, knowledge and experience of our members as well as building relationships with a wide range of external organisations.

For more than 40 years, FPH has been at the forefront of the development and transformation of the public health profession.

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Information about residency program

Training in England is divided into deaneries, with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales being also training locations.

Entry into Public Health specialty training
In the UK training is open to medical and non-medical candidates. For medical trainees: 2 years of clinical internship (Foundation training) is required to apply. For non-medical trainees: relevant degree and 3 years’ experience in a public health relevant field. Application to Public Health training is highly competitive (Only 14% of doctors and 10% of non-medical applicants were accepted in the training in 2016).

The selection process consists of two parts. Those eligible to apply are invited to the assessment centre where various skills are tested (written tests of numerical and critical reasoning and a situational judgment, scenario-based, test).

Top ranked applicants from the assessment centre are invited to a half-day selection centre (face-to-face assessment).

Selection centre test elements are:

  • face-to-face interviews with each candidate interviewed in six short panels
  • a written test of qualitative and quantitative analytic skills
  • a group exercise.

Duration of training
The training has a duration of five years divided in two phases. Phase 1 lasts two years (up to 30 months). Trainees are expected to gain core knowledge skills in public health and begin to demonstrate development of ability to integrate the use of those skills towards independent practice. Two exams (Part A and Part B MFPH) are expected to be passed during this phase. Phase 2 allows trainees to take increasing levels of responsibility leading to the last year, when trainees are expected to act as consultants but with supervision.

Training placements
There are three compulsory placements. During the first year, trainees are required to pass a Master’s in Public Health (MPH). They are also required to work for one year in a Local Authority placement. Finally, at least three months of Health Protection are required.

Further placements will depend on trainee’s career expectations and interests, including: Local authority, Public Health England, Health Protection, Academic placements and “National Treasures” (NICE, DFID, think-tanks…).

Trainees have also the opportunity to spend up to three years in Out of Training Placement (e.g. abroad placements, PhD…).

Learning Outcomes
To finish the training, trainees are required to achieve learning outcomes throughout their years of training. Learning outcomes are signed off by educational supervisors and are divided in 10 key areas:

  • Key area 1: Use of public health intelligence to survey and assess a population’s health and wellbeing
  • Key area 2: Assessing the evidence of effectiveness of interventions, programmes and services intended to improve the health or wellbeing of individuals or populations.
  • Key area 3: Policy and strategy development and implementation
  • Key area 4: Strategic leadership and collaborative working for health
  • Key area 5: Health improvement
  • Key area 6: Health protection
  • Key area 7: Health and care Public Health
  • Key area 8: Academic Public Health
  • Key area 9: Professional personal and ethical development (PPED)
  • Key Area 10: Integration and Application of Competences for Consultant Practice

At the end of each year, an ARCP panel assesses the progress of each trainee towards completion of training.

Post-training careers

In the UK, there are a variety of employment opportunities for Public Health Consultants, including:

  • Public Health Consultant in a Local Authority
  • Public Health England (or the equivalent institution in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • Consultant in Communicable disease control (HPA)
  • Academia
  • Thinktanks
  • Department of Health
  • Private Sector (consultancy, pharmaceutical industry…)
  • International

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