Public Health Specialty
Registrar Training Prospectus

1. Introduction

South Gloucestershire has a rich natural and cultural heritage. It is a mixed urban and rural authority of great diversity located in the South West of England. The area stretches from the Severn Estuary in the west to the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the east. Its southern boundary borders the city of Bristol. The area is well served by the M4 and M5 motorways and has good rail links.

The population of South Gloucestershire is estimated to be 271,600. Sixty percent of the population live in the built up areas immediately adjoining Bristol, namely Filton, Patchway, Bradley Stoke, Kingswood, Downend, Staple Hill and Hanham. Around 19% live in the towns of Yate, Chipping Sodbury and Thornbury and the remaining 21% live in the more rural areas of South Gloucestershire.

2. Structure of the training location

The Public Health and Wellbeing Division is led by the Director of Public Health, Sara Blackmore. The divisional management team are shown below. 

Deputy Director of Public Health (interim) Sarah Weld

Public Health Consultant - Lynn Gibbons 

Public Health Consultant - Gemma Morgan (currently on maternity leave)

Specialist Public Health Manager Jacqui Offer 

Children and Young People - Lesley Causon

Mental Health & Emotional well-being - Steve Spiers

Emergency Planning – Simon Hailwood

Specialist Public Health Manager Lindsey Thomas 

Healthy Lives and CVD Risk - Clare Cooke 

Drugs and Alcohol - Rosie Closs

Evidence, Performance and Intelligence – Josie New

Our purpose is to promote and protect the health of the population of South Gloucestershire and to advocate for those whose voice is seldom heard. Our vision is to improve healthy life expectancy and reduce health inequalities in South Gloucestershire.

Our values are as follows:

  • we have a culture of excellence
  • our work is evidence based and outcome focused
  • we are outward looking and client centered
  • we are a learning Division who reflect and evaluate
  • we are creative, innovative and dynamic
  • we are open, trusting and work in partnership

Our priorities for the next two years focus on the following areas:

  • mental health & well-being
  • childhood poverty
  • alcohol harm reduction
  • health in schools programme
  • childhood obesity
  • domestic abuse
  • partnership working across South Gloucestershire Council and with the Clinical Commissioning Group

3. Organisation of training

South Gloucestershire Council is a training location within the South West Public Health Training Programme, overseen by Health Education South West, Severn Postgraduate Medical Education. 

Lynn Gibbons is currently the Specialty Tutor for the training location and has regular links with the training programme. Registrars, Consultants and Specialist Public Health Managers meet formally on a quarterly basis to review registrar workloads, potential projects and provide an opportunity for Registrars to make suggestions, raise concerns and share examples of good practice.

South Gloucestershire Council operates a hot-desking arrangement and all Registrars are provided with a desk within this arrangement, laptop, landline (mobile phone not included), email address and remote access. Close working within the relatively small team results in a flexible and supportive working environment providing numerous opportunities to suit Registrar training needs.

4. Supervisors

We have four fully trained Educational Supervisors within the team including three Consultants and our Director of Public Health.

We have a range of activity supervisors in the Public Health team, in other parts of the Council and with partners. Both our Specialist Public Health Managers are activity supervisors, as are our Programme leads for Children and Young People, CVD Risk, Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol and our Partnership Officer for Built Environment. We also have activity supervisors across the Local Authority, including in Sustainability and Climate Change, the Commissioning team and Environmental Health. We have also developed links with partners including North Bristol NHS Acute Trust and BNSSG Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to enable projects to be carried out by Registrars within healthcare settings.

5. Educational Supervisor portfolios

Sara Blackmore. Before Public Health training Sara worked as a commissioner within the NHS for 10 years. Sara’s portfolio includes CCG core offer, health protection, mental health and well-being and alcohol harm reduction along with other partnership responsibilities such as safeguarding. 

Sarah Weld is the lead Consultant for adult healthy lifestyles (smoking, alcohol, healthy weight, nutrition, physical activity), health protection and healthcare public health. She has over 20 years’ experience of working in health and service improvement in partnership with local communities and the voluntary and community sector.

Lynn Gibbons is specialty tutor, and has been at South Gloucestershire Council since her CCT in 2017. A marine scientist by background, Lynn worked in sustainable development and sustainable health before Public Health training. Her portfolio includes mental health and wellbeing, children and young people, the built and natural environment and the wider determinants of health and inequalities.

Gemma Morgan – currently on maternity leave

6. What do Registrars think of South Gloucestershire?

"I have been in South Gloucestershire Council for 2 years in the second half of my training.  I have found my training experience to be excellent with a focus on both achieving learning outcomes and contributing in a positive way to the work of the department.  I have worked on a breadth of different public health projects and been given responsibility for areas of work.

The team is friendly and enthusiastic about the work they are doing and I have found everyone, at all levels, to be welcoming of registrars and interested in the work they are doing."
Helen Erswell Phase 3 Registrar

"I came to South Gloucestershire Council as on out of area placement from the Wessex deanery. I felt welcomed and part of the team really quickly. I had a very specific topic in mind, health and the environment as a determinant of health, but even within this there were lots of opportunities to get involved in. My main project was producing a Clean Air strategy which was a cross-council document. The council has very good working relationships between Public Health and Environment and Community Services which is a real strength. The project work was accommodated to meet my required Learning Outcomes and I was able to achieve full-sign off for all of the ones I had hoped for. I was also able to get leadership experience, such as establishing a steering group and presenting to elected members, which have been really helpful in the latter years of training. I definitely recommend South Gloucestershire as a training location.”
Rachael Marsh, ST4 Registrar

“I have been based at South Gloucestershire for the final part of my training. I feel that the DPH and Consultants are really invested in the registrars development here and I have been supported and encouraged to take up work that has been appropriate for my stage of training and has allowed me to develop my leadership skills and evolve from registrar into consultant. I feel that I have been trusted to represent the Public Health Directorate when I have worked with senior members of the council or with wider partners but that there is support readily available should I need to discuss work or my development. Over the past 9 months I have led work on suicide prevention, tobacco cessation and I am the consultant lead for the Evidence, Performance and Intelligence team. I think South Gloucestershire is a great place to train.”
Helen Tapson, Senior Speciality Registrar ST5

“South Gloucestershire Council has been my first placement as a public health registrar and it’s been excellent! I arrived to lots of potential project ideas already available, but have also been able to tailor some of my work to my own specific areas of interest.

At South Gloucestershire, I have also been well supported in preparing for the Diplomate Exam (DFPH). I have been encouraged to shadow a range of public health professionals such as health visitors, drugs workers and smoking cessation practitioners and have been given time to attend taught modules at both the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England.”
Elizabeth Smout, Pause 1 Registrar

7. Continuing Professional Development 

When based with South Gloucestershire Council, Registrars are enabled to attend Training Programme tutorials and encouraged to attend any in-house training that is of interest. Registrars are also invited to attend monthly Divisional Management Team meetings where frequent CPD discussions lead by internal and external colleague are held. The Division also runs a ‘tea and chat’ and a ‘late lunch and learn’ series.

8. What is unique about South Gloucestershire?

Overall population indicators for South Gloucestershire are generally good, often at or exceeding national averages.  However inequalities exist, and may often be hidden, which provides a real need for public health input. There are five identified priority neighbourhoods offering opportunities for working as a public health professional to reduce inequalities, working closely with local communities.

South Gloucestershire Council offers Registrars the opportunity to work across a number of different Divisions within the organisation, for example with the planning team via the Built Environment Partnership Officer post, with climate change and sustainability, and with the environmental health and licensing teams through the Safer, Stronger Partnership.

The South Gloucestershire Public Health & Wellbeing Division has excellent working relationships with external partners offering Registrars a wide range of opportunities to work closely with, for example the CCG and Public Health England (PHE). The University of the West of England is based in South Gloucestershire and we have developed good academic links and shared workstreams.

9. Examples of recent work

I have completed a wide range of different projects such as needs assessments and strategy development for breastfeeding and sexual health.  I have led public engagement work for the healthy lifestyles service and am the lead for oral health.  I have also worked on projects contributing to the delivery of the clean air strategy
Helen Erswell, phase 3 Registrar

I have had exposure to a range of work across the three pillars of public health whilst at South Gloucestershire. I led the development of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Strategy, working collaboratively across multiple organisations – including the council, CCG and Parent Carer Forum – gaining valuable experience in strategy development, stakeholder engagement, partnership working and an in-depth understanding of the political context and council processes including accountability arrangements, public consultation and equalities impact assessments. I also presented the work at Health and Wellbeing Board and the Children and Families Partnership and was involved in its launch at the local Children and Young People’s Mental Health Improvement Conference. I have undertaken a Needs Assessment for People Living with Neurological Conditions, developed a dashboard to support the Health Protection Assurance Group in meeting their responsibilities, worked with colleagues to develop and evaluate an emotional resilience workshop delivered to public health colleagues and am currently undertaking an evaluation of the alcohol interface nurse at North Bristol Trust. I was part of a senior leadership team responsible for reviewing, appraising and scoring business cases for year-end reserves and subsequently wrote a business case for an integrated healthy lifestyles service which combined several business cases with a view to providing a more holistic, efficient and cost-effective service. I have also gained additional leadership experience as Duty Consultant on the Public Health rota. My work at South Gloucestershire have been broad, interesting and varied and always in line with meeting my training needs and the needs of the team.
Lucy McCann Phase 3 registrar

I am currently undertaking both a learning disabilities needs assessment and a drugs needs assessment for South Gloucestershire. Both have involved working with other divisions in the Council and a variety of external organisations, providing me with experience of partnership working, stakeholder engagement and understanding the political contexts within which different organisations function. Both needs assessments also include designing and facilitating public engagement and consultation. The drugs needs assessment will lead to the development of a new drugs strategy and will potentially inform future commissioning, enabling me to gain valuable experience of the whole process. Going forward, I’ll also be involved in projects around suicide prevention, domestic abuse and homeless health.
Elizabeth Smout, Pause 1 Registrar

10. Further reading 

A number of public health related documents can be accessed via the South Gloucestershire Council website https://www.southglos.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/staying-healthy/health-strategies/ to provide further detail on the work of our Division and background information on South Gloucestershire including:

DPH Reports

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment

Joint Health & Wellbeing Strategy 

11. Contacts 

Lynn Gibbons
Consultant in Public Health & Specialty Tutor
South Gloucestershire Council
Email: lynn.gibbons@southglos.gov.uk
Tel: 01454 865747