North West Public Health Training Scheme
NHS Halton and St Helens – Training Location Guide
1. An Overview of Halton and St Helens
NHS Halton and St Helens has a diverse population and covers both urban and
rural areas. It straddles the River Mersey between Liverpool and Warrington,
and covers the towns of St. Helens, Widnes and Runcorn, with the M62 running
through the middle of the patch. It is home to Haydock Park Racecourse, the
Dream Sculpture, the Silver Jubilee Bridge and international Rugby League
champions the Widnes Vikings and St Helens „Saints‟.
The area has a strong industrial heritage with coal mining and glass making, and
more recently chemicals, food processing, clothing, metal products and furniture
manufacturing industries being located in the area. Whilst this led to the growth
of the population locally, it has also resulted in areas of high socioeconomic
NHS Halton and St Helens covers two Local Authority areas: Halton Unitary
Authority and St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council, with a combined
population of about 300,000. Both Local Authorities are Spearhead areas
meaning that they rank in the bottom 5th nationally for certain health indicators.
There are inequalities by deprivation, gender, and for Halton by ethnicity. The
health of children and young people is generally worse than the England
average, including breast feeding initiation and teenage pregnancy. Local Area
Agreements for both boroughs have prioritised tackling smoking, obesity, alcohol
misuse and teenage pregnancy over the next three years.
Structure of the Public Health Directorate
Interim Director of
Assistant Director of Consultant in Public Consultant in Dental Deputy Director of Operational Director
Public Health Health Public Health Public Health Evidence and Public Health
Intelligence Unit Business Manager
Eileen O‟Meara Dr Daniel Seddon Dr Keith Milsom Vacancy
Sue Forster Glenda Cave
Personal Assistant Personal Assistant Personal Assistant Personal Assistant
Lynne Woods Joy Lomax Joy Lomax Joy Lomax
Paula Guest Rebecca Mason Julia Rosser Vacancy Public Health
Diabetic F2 Doctor Specialty Registrar Development
Retinopathy Specialty Registrar Specialty Registrar Manager
Programme Public Health Sharon McAteer
Two members of the public health team are joint appointments with the 2
Borough Councils. There are ample opportunities to develop competencies
and understanding of the partnership agenda and to undertake partnership
work at a borough wide and local neighbourhood level. Working across two
diverse boroughs is challenging but also exciting and the PCT has good
relationships with both. The Public Health Directorate works closely with both
Local Authorities in the production of the two annual Joint Strategic Needs
You will benefit from working in an organisation that has embraced a public
health approach. Halton and St Helens residents have high health needs and
the Primary Care Trust faces significant public health challenges. Public health
is at the centre of the organisation, in identifying needs, agreeing priorities and
commissioning services. The public health team works closely with
commissioners and there is a range of well developed public health
programmes and services. The organisation has committed £40m to public
health priorities over the next 5 years through the Commissioning Strategic
Plan. It is a really exciting challenge that you can contribute to.
2. Organisation of Training
If you come to NHS Halton and St Helens you will have the opportunity to learn
in a dynamic, progressive department. You will be supported and challenged to
develop and learn and will be able to make a real contribution to the
organisation and the health of the local community.
2.1. Location and Facilities
The Public Health Directorate is situated in Victoria House, Higher Runcorn,
close to the M56, the Runcorn Bridge and Runcorn station. Most of the
Directorate staff sit in an open-plan office, maximising opportunities for
interaction and learning from each other. There is a real sense of team spirit
and high morale.
2.3.1 Lead Trainer
The lead trainer is Dr Dympna Edwards. She is responsible for training in the
Halton and St Helens location, with respect to both trainees and trainers.
Before a Specialty Registrar or F2 Doctor commences in the training location,
Dympna will discuss with them their training needs and agree an Educational
Supervisor for the duration of the attachment
2.3 Accredited Trainers / Educational supervisors
There are three accredited trainers at NHS Halton and St Helens. Trainees can
expect regular meetings with their allocated Educational Supervisor (also
known as Trainer). There is also one dental public health trainer.
Dr Dympna Edwards Dympna has been a trainer in public health and dental public health for over ten years.
Interim Director of Health Strategy She co-ordinates the training within Halton and St Helens making sure that trainees get
the most out of their training placement.
As a joint appointment with St Helens council there are many opportunities for you to
work on the broader determinants of health and undertake partnership work. Dympna
leads on the Child Health agenda with responsibility for breastfeeding, child health
services and safeguarding children across two boroughs. She is passionate about
improving health and about developing people to achieve.
Dr Daniel Seddon Daniel works half time in the PCT. His responsibilities are:
Consultant in Public Health Strategic Lead for all NHS screening programmes, with a remit to ensure
quality and performance. He chairs the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening
Email: email@example.com Programme Board and the Cancer Screening Oversight Group for Knowsley,
Warrington and Halton & St Helens.
Public health expertise and leadership to the Individual Patient Commissioning
Map of Medicine implementation
Management of the Foundation Year 2 posts in Public Health.
Daniel is an experienced trainer and examiner at OSPHE. He is Head of the School of
Public Health at Mersey Deanery, and leads on Early Detection and Prevention for the
Cancer Network. He was an NHS General Practitioner until 1992. Since then he has
held senior public health posts in the South East and North West of England.
Eileen O‟Meara Eileen has 20 years national and international experience in public health. She has
Assistant Director of Public Health worked at a strategic and operational level in the areas of health improvement, health
protection and commissioning for the NHS, the United Nations and as an independent
consultant. She is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of
Email: eileen.o‟firstname.lastname@example.org Physicians. Currently, Eileen is Assistant Director of Public Health for NHS Halton and St
Helens where she is responsible for the strategic direction and commissioning of services
related to cardiovascular disease, respiratory health and cancers. Eileen represents
NHS Halton and St Helens at Halton Borough Council Chief Officer Group. She is also
joint chair of the Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Network Health Inequalities
Other Consultants/Team Members Involved in Training
Sue Forster Sue has worked in the NHS for 14 years all within Public Health. She started her work in
Operational Director, Public Health public health as a public health analyst for Sefton Health Authority and went on to be one
Evidence and Intelligence Unit of the first non medical public health trainees in the country, training in East Lancashire
HA, South Lancashire HA and Chorley and South Ribble PCT. After training she worked
for a short period in West Lancashire PCT as a public health specialist/health promotion
Email: email@example.com manager and started in St Helens PCT in January 2004. Currently Sue manages the
public health evidence and intelligence unit and is the Public Health lead for sexual
health. Her main areas of interest are:
Getting research into practice
Understanding organisational needs in relation to intelligence
Development of health economics in commissioning
Sue‟s academic background includes a first degree in Geography and Information
Technology, a Masters in Health Sciences (Public Health/Health Promotion) and Part 1 of
the Faculty of Public Health Medicine. Prior to working in the NHS she undertook work
with the University of Liverpool using Geographical Information Systems to analyse
services within and the location of Pharmacies in Cheshire and Mersey.
Dr Keith Milsom Keith qualified from Liverpool University Dental School in 1975. He spent 2 years in
Consultant in Dental Public Health hospital dentistry and 18 months in general practice before moving into the Community
Dental Service in 1978. He completed his MSc in Dental Public Health in 1985. He
obtained his Fellowship in Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Edinburgh in 1993. In 1993 he was appointed to a specialist training post in Dental
Public Health in the Mersey Deanery and was entered onto the specialist register of the
General Dental Council as a specialist in dental public health in 1998. In 2004 he was
awarded his doctorate by Manchester University. He was appointed by Halton PCT as
Consultant in Dental Public Health in 1999. In 2005 he was appointed as Honorary
Senior Lecturer in Dental Public Health, Manchester University.
Keith has published over 50 research papers in peer reviewed journals and has received
research funding in excess of £3.2 million. His research interests have an applied,
policy-relevant focus and include dental screening, inequalities in dental disease and
access to dental care, measuring the effectiveness of population programmes to reduce
the impact of dental caries, effective dental workforce planning and improving the
evidence base to support the commissioning and delivery of NHS primary dental care.
In 2004 he was successful in obtaining funding to establish an Oral Health Unit in the
National Primary Care R&D Centre and is the Operational Director of the Unit. The work
of the Unit is increasingly recognised both nationally and internationally
Locally, Keith advises Halton & St Helens PCT and Warrington PCT. He takes the lead
for oral health strategy development and works with the commissioning team on the
delivery of programmes designed to improve access to NHS dental services, improve
oral health and reduce dental health inequalities.
In addition, the public health team houses the North West Primary Care Research and
Development Network and the Dental Public Health Research team so there is good
support to develop and maintain your research skills.
2.2. Number of Trainees
As of March 2011, there are 2 Specialty registrars (at different phases/stages of
training) and one F2 doctor.
We are also a training location for trainee Public Health analysts and there is
currently one in post.
Prior to starting a placement at NHS Halton and St Helens, you will be
contacted by one of the Public Health administrators, who will organise your IT
induction, arrange for you to collect your staff ID badge and any other
housekeeping issues. The administrator will also set up a programme of
meetings with key staff for you, to help you get acclimatised to the patch early
A Foundation Year 2 doctor explains:
On my first day of the Public Health rotation, I was
introduced to a Specialty Registrar to brief me about the
Directorate, the structure of PCT and I was shown around
the building. I was also introduced to the Public Health
Analysts, Departmental Personal Assistants, the Dental
Public Health Consultant and some primary care
commissioners. Over the first two weeks, I met the Director
of Public Health, and the other Consultants in Public
Health, Specialty Registrars in Public Health, Operational
Directors, the Clinical Audit and Quality Mangers and the
Manger in Research and Development etc. I also had the
opportunity to attend a library induction for literature search
and IT training. I felt I was well inducted and I was warmly
welcomed by the team.
2.4. What to expect
There is secretarial and IT support for all trainees and excellent working links
with other directorates in the PCT. Your educational supervisor will:
Ensure that all the personnel matters and arrangements are in hand and
that all the required facilities (e.g. desk, telephone etc.) are available
before you arrive.
Introduce you to other Specialty Registrars, ensure that one of them is
able to act as a 'buddy'; and introduce you to other members of the
Confirm allocation of the academic tutor and encourage regular contact
Arrange an appropriate induction programme including communicable
disease control (CDC) training, where appropriate.
Ensure adequate briefing of the organisation/department in which you
will be working.
Assess your previous experience and relate this to future responsibilities
and work, so that it builds on your existing skills.
Agree an initial programme of work and review it with you regularly and
as frequently as required.
Assign short term work appropriate to your current level of knowledge
and skills and ensure this fits in with the induction programme,
encouraging you to feel part of the team.
Encourage, support and offer you constructive feedback.
Review your progress initially weekly - the minimum should be 1 hour of
protected time but there should also be frequent informal contact.
Facilitate first attachments to other colleagues in consultation with you
and other supervisors.
Where appropriate facilitate and arrange the communicable disease
control attachment to enable you to start on-call responsibility.
You will develop a working understanding of the delivery of healthcare in
general practice, primary care, the acute hospital, the community and in
partnership with other agencies. If you are currently enrolled on an academic
course you will be encouraged to integrate your knowledge of theory and
practice of public health in the context of public health practice in your training
3. Additional Training Opportunities
3.1. Academic Links
All trainees have access to the Cheshire and Merseyside Academic Forum and
are encouraged to attend.
3.2. ChaMPs / other Networks
It may be possible to develop links with the clinical networks or with ChaMPs
3.3. Mid-Mersey footprint
Good working relationships exist between NHS Warrington, NHS Halton and St
Helens and NHS Knowsley and there are opportunities to lead on pieces of
work that cover this wider population for example screening.
4. Departmental and Other Educational Events
All trainees are encouraged to attend the monthly Departmental meeting. This
is a good opportunity to learn about what is going on both locally and nationally.
Ad hoc training events for Public Health staff are also arranged, for example a
session on Business Process Redesign Tools – learning about reducing
inefficiency in the NHS and including user experience of services to inform our
evaluations and redesign of services.
5. Opportunities for Experience of Teaching and Training
There are opportunities for Specialty Registrars to lead on, or take part in
teaching sessions for F1s and F2s at Warrington Postgraduate Centre.
Specialty Registrars have also contributed to Protected Leaning time events for
primary care contractors, mostly general practitioners and dentists.
6. Library Facilities
St Helens and Knowsley Health Informatics Service provide library and
knowledge services to Halton and St Helens, Knowsley and
Warrington PCTs. The service is based at Alexandra Park, in St
Helens, and is open between 8 am - 4.30 pm, 5 days a week. The
library service offers a wide range of services to help support evidence
based practice within the PCT, most of which can be accessed
remotely via the library link from a PCT computer. They offer an
introductory session to new staff to introduce them with the PCT o-line
services, as well as helping with literature searches and electronic
Contact details: for more information email@example.com or 0151
7. Examples of recent work
Overview of quality assurance of screening programmes locally
Providing a public health perspective to the Planned Care work stream
of the Commissioning Strategic Plan
Annual Report Summary Data on “The Health of Halton and St
Helens” and key PH Team achievements
Coordinating the development of a Child Safety Resource Pack
for professionals working to aid support and referral for families
with children age under 5
Report and timeline for Breast Screening Working Group Away
Day to support Business Planning
Exploring the use of Teenage Conception Data using MOSAIC
Cancer performance report
Cervical smear service evaluation
Participating in multi-agency emergency planning exercises
Early detection 'Health Check Plus' - patient literature
Individual Patient Commissioning Committee cases - providing
clinical views on individual cases
Screening chapter for the annual report
PCT Pandemic Influenza lead
Dissertation on infant weaning
8. What the Trainees say…
Halton and St Helens PCT is a great place to work. It’s a very
friendly PCT, and we are well supported by our trainers. There
are plenty of opportunities to do different types of projects and we
are well supported by our educational supervisors. The trainees
are based in Victoria House, which is in a really accessible spot. It
is just a short walk from Runcorn station, and by car it’s just off
the Weston Point Express Way.
My placement in the Public Health Directorate involves working
on several projects. They are a Cancer performance report, a
number of clinical audits and a cervical smear service evaluation.
I was also given the opportunity to attend a wide range of
meetings, conferences and workshops. I am able to conduct my
work in a friendly and supportive environment. There is a regular
trainer and trainee meeting which ensure projects are heading in
the right direction. Learning opportunities are excellent in this
placement. Senior colleagues are very keen to teach and provide
individual F2 teaching every month. I have learnt a number of
skills. My skills in interpreting data and presenting information
have been much improved. I also understand more about the
structure of PCTs and commissioning at a strategic level. I truly
valued the skills I have gained in this placement which are also
applicable outside a Public Health department. To sum up, I have
gained experience in Health Promotion, Health Improvement and
Health Protection at a population level.
Public Health Directorate
NHS Halton and St Helens
1st March 2011