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Scottish Medical Training

Scotland - the home of medical excellence

Speciality: Public Health Medicine

Programme Description
GMC Reference: SES2083

Public Health is devoted to improving health in populations rather than treating illnesses in individuals. Practitioners need to be able to see the bigger and more strategic picture and have the ability to ask the most pertinent questions. In Scotland, there are many health issues which require a population approach in order for there to be any improvement.

Although trainees are employed by a particular institution (usually one of the NHS Boards) and will spend a proportion of their time working in that institution, there is opportunity to have training attachments in a wide variety of other stimulating environments throughout Scotland. These include other NHS Board Departments of Public Health, University Departments of Public Health, central NHS organisations such as branches of NHS National Services Scotland, Local Authorities and the Scottish Government. Trainees are supported by a comprehensive national training structure. 

The training programme is up to 5 years whole time equivalent. The training usually includes: 

  • An introductory period of 3 months, commencing with an induction programme in which the new StR is introduced to key members of the parent department and sees the broad range of activities that are undertaken by public health.

  • Twelve months whole time (or equivalent) academic training in public health sciences. This is normally achieved by attending a Master of Public Health (MPH) course at Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh or Glasgow Universities.

  • A total of forty-eight months in-service training (including the introductory period) of which it is recommended that the first 18 – 24 months will be spent gaining general experience in a territorial NHS (usually the host board) before rotation to other attachments.  

Scotland is a valuable training ground for Public Health. There is a strong and enthusiastic Public Health workforce and a long history of Public Health activity. There is also great variety. Scotland has large cities and also isolated rural areas. It has to contend with high levels of deprivation and related chronic disease, and also complex health protection issues.                                                             

Because Public Health operates at a number of levels, from local action to government legislation, there are great advantages in training in a country the size of Scotland. Trainees can get to know their Public Health colleagues throughout Scotland and understand the types of environment in which they work.          

There are likely to be five training places available in 2018. These will be in the following NHS Boards: Forth Valley, Grampian, Highland, Lothian and Tayside. They are open to doctors and to graduates/professionals from a background other than medicine who can demonstrate the essential competences/experience to enter training.     

Candidates should note that different NHS Boards have different arrangements and payment supplements for on-call duty and although there is an expectation that Registrars will obtain some out-of-hours experience during their training, on-call payments cannot be guaranteed.                                                                   

This programme involves placements in at least two Health Boards.  Also placements in a variety of national bodies is encouraged, according to  choice and availability.

Where is the training delivered?
Training is delivered across:

NHS Board Departments of Public Health and appropriate National Bodies

This programme involves placements in some or all of these Health Boards and hospitals: Tayside; Greater Glasgow & Clyde; Forth Valley; Borders, and Dumfries & Galloway. Also, a variety of national bodies according to choice and availability.



Public HealthMedicine Post breakdown - August 2023 Intake:


North x 2 posts - Indicative rotation to commence 02/08/2023 in NHS Highland + 1 post with indicative rotation to commence 02/08/2023 in NHS Grampian


West x 2 posts -  Indicative rotation to commence 02/08/2023 in Public Health Scotland + 1 post with indicative rotation to commence 02/08/2023 in Public Health Scotland and rotating to NHS Lothian after 2.5 years


East x 1 post - Indicative rotation to commence 02/08/2023 in NHS Tayside


Contacts and Useful Links
Programme Type Deanery based or National: National
Administration office South-East of Scotland
Lead Dean / Director
Responsible Associate Postgraduate Dean or Assistant Director (GP) Dr Rhiannon Pugh
Specialty or Sub-specialty Specialty or Sub-specialty: Specialty
Date of GMC recent approval August 2010
Associated Royal College - Faculty
Faculty of Public Health (web site)
Curriculum and Associated Assessment System
Programme Administrator: Named Programme Administrator: John Mann
Address: NHS Education for Scotland, 102 West Port, Edinburgh, EH3 9DN
Programme Director Programme Director Name: Dr Cathy Johnman
Quality of Training Quality Management

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