I am an ST5 in public health in the Mersey Deanery, having previously been on a paediatric training scheme, also in the North West of England (I left at the end of ST3). However, I also retain a part-time paediatric emergency medicine staff grade role in my local acute NHS trust. An interest in child public health was one of the main reasons I chose to change my main specialty from paediatrics to public health.

During my time on the public health training scheme I have actively sought out opportunities to work on child health projects that incorporate secondary care. Examples of things that I have done include a number of audits looking at “public health” issues in the paediatric emergency department e.g. looking at the burden of primary care dental issues that present to secondary care, and also projects looking at neonatal admissions and home-ventilation for children.

Working in clinical paediatrics has definitely made me a better public health registrar. Likewise, the clinical setting of the emergency department provides an excellent opportunity to practise public health and my public health knowledge has made me a better clinician. I find that issues that could be broadly considered under public health come up fairly frequently in consultations with patients. For example, when taking a vaccination history or asking parents about smoking my public health knowledge is really useful. There is also a really big overlap around things like accident prevention.

I am a member of the Faculty of Public Health but am also an associate member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and the College of Emergency Medicine – this means that I have access to a really wide range of learning activities and resources.

Child public health is a really interesting and exciting area to work in, and I think that some of the pilot programmes for paediatricians in public health are a brilliant idea. I’m really happy to discuss my experiences of training (in an ad hoc kind of way) in child public health if anyone has any questions ().

Rachel Isba
Trainee rep – Public Health

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