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Public health skills are now more in demand than at any time in the past. Many health professionals have a very real and urgent need to develop the skills for managing health at a population level. This is especially true in primary care where a population perspective has always been important. In addition, clinicians in secondary care are required to demonstrate their population, management, and research skills to fulfil a role where team working and skill mixing are increasingly important. Lastly, we are all under increasing pressure to identify where we can contribute best, and how our skills need developing in order to be able to do that. Public health skills add breadth and enable use of existing specialist skills more efficiently and effectively. There are simply not enough dedicated public health professionals to do all that could be done. Relationships between public health professionals and practising clinicians are often distant or poor. We present here an initiative to take public health skills to clinicians, with the aim of broadening the base of public health skills within the NHS, as well as improving understanding of different roles and working relationships across the wider health service.
The regional training committee of public health medicine in the Anglia deanery offers Fellowships to both general practitioners (GPs) and hospital doctors for 6–12 months within an existing public health medicine training programme to help them develop these very skills. The hope is that the clinicians emerge from the Fellowship programme better equipped to manage health care issues at a population level as well as understanding the techniques, language, culture, challenges, and opportunities associated with the discipline in particular …
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