Gordon Parker and James Mackie explain what is involved in this specialty and how to train for it
- By: Gordon Parker, James Mackie
Mention “occupational medicine” to a medical student or to a doctor in the first few years of training, and you are likely to be met with a blank expression. Few students, preregistration house officers, or senior house officers will know anything about the specialty as occupational medicine no longer features as a distinct specialty in the undergraduate curriculum and there is currently only one senior house officer post in occupational medicine. Even when there was an occupational health component in the undergraduate curriculum, it was often based on a visit to a local factory or couple of lectures on industrial diseases that may not have captured the imagination.
Your exposure to “occupational health” in the early years of training may be confined to enquiries about your hepatitis B status and health questionnaires every time you change jobs. This level of contact with the specialty is hardly likely to fill you