Public Health Training Experience in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly are at the southwest tip of the England, with a population of around 532,000 in Cornwall and 2,000 in the Isles of Scilly. 

This is an area known for its 250 miles of coastline, its surfing beaches, fishing villages and rugged moorland; it is also known for its culture, traditions and language, the arts and the quality of local food. It is an area where affluence and deprivation reside in close proximity. Despite being a playground for the wealthy, many people living in Cornwall live in fuel poverty; the demand on food banks is growing; alcohol-related hospital admissions are high; and the suicide rate (already above the national average) is rising. 

If you come to Cornwall to train in public health you can experience the benefits of your picturesque surroundings, but also make a valuable contribution to reducing inequalities in health.

Our Team

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly public health team is employed by Cornwall Council, but also provides support to the Council of the Isles of Scilly (both are unitary authorities).

We have a strong Health Promotion Service, which delivers a range of programmes to support the local priority health improvement functions. Registrars can take the opportunity to spend some time with the health promotion service to gain some experience of working with the communities we are trying to reach first hand.

During 2014, the public health function in Cornwall was reviewed, resulting in a revised team structure and service delivery model that has been in place from July 2015. The current DPH is supported by five consultants in PH (one in a fixed term post), and a team of advanced and intermediate specialists, analysts and commissioning managers.

Public health works across four key functional areas – health care public health, health improvement, health protection and the wider determinants of health. These are reflected in the structure, and are headed by the four consultants in PH. These functional areas are underpinned by intelligence, research and evaluation, and the aim of reducing inequalities. The development of the workforce is also key to the success of the team, to ensure we have the necessary skills and qualifications, compliant with professional standards.

We welcome students and trainees at different stages of their education and career pathways into the team for work experience and we value the contribution they make across the breadth of public health work.

Four of our consultants are accredited educational supervisors for the public health specialist training programme.


The core team works mainly from the Cornwall Council HQ at County Hall, Truro. This is a 10-minute walk from Truro mainline railway station. There are also good bus links including a park and ride service, and on-site parking is available. There are alternative hot desk arrangements available across the whole of the Local Authority estate.  The Health Promotion Service (Health Cornwall)  is based in Camborne and there are hot desk working arrangements here too.

Our Vision

Our vision is that in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly the health and well-being of everyone is protected and improved, while narrowing the gap in health outcomes between the richest and the poorest. The focus of public health is primarily to improve physical and mental health through the prevention and early identification of disease.

Our Priorities

Our priorities are expressed in a model referred to as ‘5,5,75’.
This describes the five behaviors that lead to the five conditions that account for 75% of death and disability
among our population. These priorities are also reflected in the focus of the Health and Well-being Strategy for Cornwall.


Partnership Working

We work closely with other services of the council, the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Public Health England (Devon, Cornwall and Somerset), the NHS England Local Area Team, local health service providers and other public and voluntary sector services.

Examples of partnership programmes include:

  • Penwith Pioneer (Living Well) – a partnership of health, social care and voluntary sector organisations, working to support the independence of frail and vulnerable people.
  • Food and Cornwall – a partnership developed through a systems leadership approach, aiming to create food wealth so that no one in Cornwall goes hungry.
  • Zero suicides Cornwall & Isles of Scilly – a local network, delivering the suicide prevention strategy and linking to a regional clinical collaborative aiming to achieve zero suicides by October 2017. 
  • Cornwall Drug and Alcohol Action Team – a strong partnership working together to address the health and community safety issues that are linked to the misuse of drugs and alcohol.

Trainee Work Plans

Trainees agree their work plan with their educational supervisor, with whom they hold regular 1:1 meetings. They can also seek advice and support from the specialty tutor. Defined projects are identified for trainees, as well as ad hoc pieces of work to involve the trainees in the day-to-day work of the team. These are designed to meet the competency requirements of the trainee as they progress through the training programme. There will be increasing levels of responsibility towards later stages of training.

Trainees are encouraged to participate in internal and external sessions in preparation for Faculty exams. We can provide mock OSPHE practice within the team based on hypothetical and actual scenarios.

Training is a standing item on the SMT agenda and trainees are encouraged to influence our local training policy, to optimise the training experience that can be provided in Cornwall.

Examples of recent projects carried out by Specialty Registrars include: 

  • Moving towards a sustainable ‘food bank plus’ model: a review of food banks in Cornwall (2015)
  • A review of the provision of LARC (long-acting reversible contraception) in Cornwall (2014)
  • Literature review and statistical summary describing self-harm among children and young people in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (2014)
  • Suicide Audit tool and annual report (2018)
  • Health Visitor Needs Assessment (2018)
  • Public Health Annual Report (2018)
  • Needs assessment and strategy for self-management of long-term conditions (2018)
  • MECC coordination role and supervision of an F2 evaluation (2018)

What Registrars Say About Training in Cornwall

'Working in Cornwall is not only a beautiful setting, but there are lots of opportunities to get involved with interesting work. I have been pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the pioneering Food and Cornwall group, and to have had the chance to see some of the valuable work done by the health promotion service, which is particularly strong in Cornwall. The team have been very accommodating of the fact that I live in Exeter and have allowed me to work flexibly.'

Key contacts

For further information, contact:
Brian O’Neill, Consultant in Public Health and Specialty Tutor 

If you would like this information in another format or language please contact:
Cornwall Council, County Hall Treyew Road, Truro TR1 3AY 
Telephone: 0300 1234 100

Cornwall Council

Public Health Department

Public Health Cornwall & Isles of Scilly
Cornwall Council
Level E:01, County Hall
Treyew Road