Hot Desk

hot desk v,

to share a desk, office, or other work space between employees on different shifts or schedules; used here to denote the rotations of public health registrars and other medical trainees working in public health

GP Trainee Placement in Public Health

Doing a Public Health Placement

Some General Practitioner (GP) Training Programmes offer their trainees the opportunity to do a 6 month placement working in public health.  This placement forms part of the 6 month rotation that all GP trainees do irrepective of whether they are full-time or part-time.  Funding for this placement seems to vary from scheme to scheme and they type of public health placement can vary too.   I can only speak from my experience of supervising GP trainees within NHS England (London Region) where we can offer GP trainees the experience of working within a regional public health commissioning environment with an 1-2 week placement within a health protection teams.  Other schemes offer longer placements with health protection and are able to support GP trainees and foundation doctors to do on-call for health protection.  

Since 2014, GP Trainees from the Imperial Scheme (and occasionally from other GP training schemes) have been welcomed at NHS England (NHSE) London for a 6 month placement in public health. This placement provides GP trainees with the opportunity to work as part of a Public Health England (PHE)/NHSE embedded public health commissioning team which consists of public health doctors, specialists, practitioners and commissioners. This team is part of the wider NHSE London regional centre which also includes specialist commissioning, primary care commissioning, medical and nursing directorates and business analytics.There are very close working links with London Councils, PHE, LMC, academia, Strategic Transformation Plans (STPs), Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and local authorities (LA).

Learning Objectives

To expose GP trainees to the ‘back office’ element of the NHS - how services are commissioned and monitored

  • To learn about public health specialism, its three domains and the nine public health competencies that public health doctors need to demonstrate
  • To be involved in how public health is applied to commissioning health services and in improving quality of health care including clinical audits and incidents management
  • To involve GP trainees in the management of communicable diseases and outbreak responses including the commissioning response IMMS01
  • To learn how public policy on health improvement including children’s health is done nationally and regionally
  • To learn about how public health relates to general practice, e.g. what you can apply as a general practitioner to keep your patients healthy and reduce number of visits; understanding the health profile of the population you will be looking after and how this may affect the practice
  • To avail of learning opportunities in relation to public health, primary care and health services


  • GP trainees will finish their placement understanding:
    • how public health specialists can affect change and influence decision making
    • applications of public health for their future role as GPs
    • how commissioning of health services work
    • importance of immunisation and screening as part of the preventive agenda to reduce morbidity, mortality and associated costs
    • how to quickly collate knowledge and evidence and put it into action
    • population perspectives, equity of service provision and health inequalities

Example of a project work in a placement