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 irrespective 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.  

Learning Objectives

  • 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 
  • 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

Useful links

Example of a project work in a placement