Public health trainees considering leaving specialty over job concerns

Authors: Helen Jaques 

Publication date:  08 Jun 2012

Junior doctors training in public health are uncertain about the likelihood of jobs on completion of training and almost half are considering leaving the specialty, according to a small survey completed by the BMA.

The survey of 57 public health specialty trainees found that 87% did not believe there would be enough consultant jobs available when they qualified.

Almost half (45%) of trainees stated that they had thought of leaving public health to work in another specialty and two respondents (3.6%) had already applied in the current recruitment round to train in another field. A total of 16% of respondents had thought of leaving medicine altogether.

The survey showed that only one in 10 trainees had done placements in local authorities (10.5%), which in England will take over responsibility for public health from primary care trusts in April 2013.

One respondent commented that local authorities will undervalue the skills of public health doctors, and another suggested that local authorities might view medically qualified public health consultants as too expensive.

Several trainees highlighted the career uncertainty in the specialty as an issue, with a third (37%) saying they did not know where they would be working once they were fully qualified.

A third (35%) of respondents said they would not recommend a career in public health, with one trainee noting that the specialty was a risky career choice compared with a clinical career.

The survey also found that many trainees are interested in dual clinical and public health accreditation, with two thirds (64%) saying they were interested in this career path.

Helen Jaques news reporter BMJ Careers

Cite this as BMJ Careers ; doi: