Wiltshire and its population

Wiltshire is situated between Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Dorset, with a population of just under 500,000 residents. The age profile is similar to England as a whole, apart from a higher proportion of residents aged 65+. Around 3.5% of residents are from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. Life expectancy is higher than the regional and national averages for both males and females.

Wiltshire encompasses a large geographical footprint, comprised of market towns such as Chippenham, Trowbridge and Salisbury, alongside areas of rural villages and farmland. There is also a significant military presence in the county, with several bases and large areas of military training estates including the Salisbury Plains. Overall the area has similar degrees of deprivation to the England average. However, there are areas of significant deprivation, both in urban and rural settings. For more information about the Wiltshire population visit: https://www.wiltshireintelligence.org.uk/

The council and other local organisations

Wiltshire Council became a unitary authority in 2009 and has a majority Conservative administration. The principal site of the council is at County Hall in Trowbridge, with satellite offices in Chippenham and Salisbury. The Health and Wellbeing Board is currently co-chaired by the Leader of the council, and Wiltshire CCG. Following recent changes, Wiltshire CCG will be merging with the CCGs in neighboring Swindon and Bath to form a single CCG. The public health team supports the CCG in several areas of work, including the review of exceptions funding requests, development of clinical policy and work across the health improvement and protection agenda.

There are three acute hospital trusts which provide services for Wiltshire residents – Royal United Hospital (Bath); Great Western Hospitals (Swindon); and Salisbury NHS Foundation Trusts. Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust provides adult mental health services, and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust provide children and adolescent mental health services. Wiltshire Health and Care (an NHS partnership between the three local acute Foundation Trusts) provides community adult care, and other providers such as Virgin Care are also commissioned.

Wiltshire also has a major centre for Public Health England at Porton Down. The centre hosts several national teams including the Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory, and the Emergency Response Department. NHS England also has a regional office in Chippenham.

The training location

The public health team is based at County Hall in Trowbridge, a short walk from the town rail station. This is a purpose-built centre completed in 2009. Offices in Chippenham and Salisbury can also be used, with hot-desk office space and nearby parking available.

The team consists of the Director of Public Health, four Public Health consultants, a Public Health Head of Service, a Public Health strategist, and teams of Public Health Principals and Specialists in themes of Health Improvement, Knowledge & Intelligence, and Vulnerable Communities.

Registrars are completely integrated in to the Public Health team, based in our open plan office with a hot-desk policy. The registrars are always part of team meetings, away days and are encouraged to use the wide variety of opportunities to attend different meetings and events through working in the Public Health department. Examples include participating in Local Resilience Forum tactical exercises, and spending time with the Environmental Health teams.

Educational supervision

Kate Blackburn is the specialty tutor for Wiltshire and the first point for external contact about training issues. Kate is also an educational supervisor and her portfolio includes public health intelligence, healthcare public health, mental health and wellbeing and Local Area Coordination. There are two other consultants in the team: Tracey Daszkiewicz (Director of Public Health), and Steve Maddern (Consultant in Public Health).

Academic links

The team has links with the University of Bath and the University for the West of England (UWE). This includes collaborative working on research opportunities, and hosting Master’s students undertaking dissertation research. Registrars also have the opportunity to be involved with teaching at University of Bristol or UWE at either undergraduate or postgraduate level.

Recent examples of registrar work

The following projects show the breadth of work done by registrars.  During the first phase of training registrars are more likely to take on smaller pieces of day to day work whilst they are still building their public health and leadership skills. 

  • Developing and implementing a new multi-agency strategy for Gypsy and Traveller communities
  • Writing a Health Needs Assessment for male and trans sex workers
  • Completed an evidence review for the STP clinical policy working group
  • Leading the development of Mental Health Needs Assessment
  • Leading development of the Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment
  • Setting up a multi-agency suicide prevention steering group
  • Leading the development of the Wiltshire Suicide Prevention Action Plan

What Wiltshire has to offer to registrars

Public health training in Wiltshire offers registrars an opportunity to work with a dynamic team across the breadth of public health practice. Registrars are well supported to develop their professional skills, progress through the training programme and exams, and work on interesting and substantial projects. The deanery annual Quality Panel has consistently rated Wiltshire an ‘excellent’ training location for many years.

Key contacts

For further information, please contact:

Kate Blackburn, Consultant in Public Health