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Core public health workforce

The core public health workforce was defined by the Centre for Workforce Intelligence as: 'All staff engaged in public health activities who identify public health as being the primary part of their role.'

Core public health workforce

This includes public health consultants and specialist, Directors of Public Health, public health nurses, health visitors, school nurses, public health practitioners, environmental health professionals, public health academics, scientists and intelligence and knowledge professionals. Find out more about career routes for these professions on the Health Careers website.

HEE supports the development of public health specialists and public health practitioners. Detail on how HEE supports learners seeking to progress to Specialist Community Public Health Nurse qualifications (i.e. Health Visitors, School Nurses, Occupational Health Nurses) can be found in HEE’s Education Funding Guidance.

Public Health Practitioners 

Public Health Practitioners (PHPs) are part of the core public health workforce. They work in various areas including health improvement, health protection, and health and social care. They may work in the public, private, voluntary and community sectors and contribute to public health outcomes and improving health and wellbeing. 

HEE supports the development of public health practitioners through practitioner registration schemes available across England as well as delivering continuing professional development opportunities for public health practitioners. Delivery of these schemes and broader development programmes are regionally planned and delivered to respond to system need.

Public Health Practitioners can register with the United Kingdom Public Health Register (UKPHR). Details of the Practitioner Schemes, geographies covered and a contact point are available via UKPHR’s website.

HEE has developed a Public Health Practitioner’s Education and Training Directory to provide existing public health practitioners with training and educational opportunities. Skills acquired through learning can then be used as evidence to support Public Health Practitioners in achieving UKPHR Public Health Practitioner Registration. The directory is also a useful Continued Professional Development (CPD) tool for those working in or new to healthcare, from those taking apprenticeships to clinicians who want to learn more about public health/health promotion. For more information, or to receive these documents in a different format, email england.ltcp@nhs.net .

Public Health Specialists

Public health specialists focus on health at a population level, looking at ways to make communities and environments healthier, reducing ill-health and tackling health inequalities. Public Health Specialists require skills in all three main 'domains' of public health (health protection, health improvement, healthcare public health), but in practice they may specialise in one area.

HEE has a statutory responsibility for the training of public health specialists, which is achieved through 11 Postgraduate Schools of Public Health. HEE’s public health specialty training programmes aim to provide the knowledge, skills and experience needed to be an effective public health specialist. It covers the academic, health protection and service components of public health practice. Delivery of these training programmes is overseen by a Head of School and/or a Training Programme Director reporting to a regional Postgraduate Dean.

East of England



·      East Midlands

·      West Midlands

North East and Yorkshire

·      North East

·      Yorkshire and Humber

North West

South East

·      Kent Surrey Sussex

·      Thames Valley

·      Wessex

South West


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