Tackling public health issues head on

by Ciaran Kennedy and Deiniol Jones

Funding, training, pay, burnout and rest facilities – all matters your public health medicine registrars subcommittee will deal with

Location: UK
Published: Wednesday 25 October 2023
dan and ciaran

As your new chair and deputy chair on the public health medicine registrars subcommittee in the BMA, we are proud to be representing you, our members across the UK, for the next year.

We take the challenges facing us, public health, and our profession seriously and we are determined to deliver on the priorities you have set for us.

Life expectancy has stalled or fallen for many, rampant health inequalities persist and communities face daily marginalisation and exclusion. Our public deserves so much better. Yet, public health services remain underfunded and understaffed across the UK, and effective policies too often remain on the shelf.

We are also simply not training enough public-health specialists to implement those policies and are struggling to retain those we do have in the face of pay erosion and burnout. 

As with all doctors, our pay has been eroded for more than a decade. While Scotland is now on the way towards the full pay restoration it deserves, doctors across the rest of the UK are striking or shortly balloting to do so.

We share the disappointment of colleagues in England that the legal situation is that they cannot take part in the industrial action. Nonetheless, we will continue to support the pay-restoration campaigns and encourage any members who cannot strike to instead donate to the BMA’s strike fund bmastrikefund.raisely.com

We also know from member conversations and training surveys that many of you are experiencing high workload, risk of burnout, and isolation. We know how challenging this can be, we are here to listen and attempt to solve the issues you face.

As your new officers, we’ve already begun to review our local workplace representation and will be producing a series of guides for members shortly on how you can get the rest and facilities you’re entitled to. If you have any local issues then please contact the BMA here and if you’d like to become a local representative visit here.

We recognise our own national committee could be working better. We have now passed important reforms, aimed at improving member participation and engagement and will shortly be running elections in which any public health registrar BMA members anywhere in the UK will now be able to run and vote in. Join our whatsapp group here.

Finally, as a professional association, we know the influence we can have on national policies and conversations. We are especially grateful for our partnership with the Faculty of Public Health in this regard and look forward to working with them on global health, equality, diversity and inclusion this year.

Recent BMA advocacy successes include the expansion of public health training places, the introduction of a mandatory gambling levy, and progress on smoking and youth vaping. This year, we’ll also be contributing to work on drug decriminalisation and reducing alcohol harms.

Our annual conference takes place on 26 February 2024 so please save the date. We would like to finish by thanking the outgoing chair, Youssof, for all his previous hard work and successes over his tenure.


Chair of the UK public health medicine registrars subcommittee Deiniol Jones (pictured, top left)

Deputy chair of the UK public health medicine registrars subcommittee Ciaran Kennedy (pictured, top right)