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Regulation parity needed in public health, doctors agree

Non-medical public health specialists need to be regulated to equivalent standards of their doctor peers, the meeting said.

Representatives welcomed the government’s decision to regulate non-medical public health specialists on a statutory basis, as recommended by south west regional director for public health Gabriel Scally who was commissioned to prepare a report on the issue.

But they insisted this regulation needed to be of an equivalent standard to that applied by the GMC to the public health doctors.

'Don't need new body'

PHMC registrars subcommittee chair Iain Kennedy said: ‘We don’t need a new body, a new quango set up to regulate our non-medical colleagues, who would fit quite nicely under the remit of the Health Professionals Council that already exists.’

But he added that it was essential that these non-medical specialists were regulated ‘along the same lines’ as their medical counterparts to ensure quality, public confidence in the specialty and the confidence of public health doctors working alongside them.

The meeting maintained that all appointments at consultant level, including that of director of public health, should be subject to proper scrutiny by advisory appointment committees to maintain standards in public health medicine.

Stockport primary care trust director of public health Stephen Watkins said this was a tried and tested method of appointing consultants and called for it to continue in the face of some ‘strange proposals’ put forward by local authorities.

Demand to keep NHS terms for public health specialists