The drive to boost public health in the UK could be hit by a shortage of doctors.
Public health trainee doctors say government primary care reforms mean stalling of their careers and withdrawal of consultant posts.
The uncertainty surrounding primary care trust mergers in England under Commissioning a Patient-led NHS has prompted some primary care trusts to freeze public health recruitment.
BMA public health doctors estimate as many as 100 public health juniors could be trapped at specialist registrar level or forced out of the specialty altogether.
The Faculty of Public Health of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK is aware of at least 12 consultant posts that have been withdrawn in the past few months.
It spells a potential threat to the government's ambitious targets for improving public health, set out in its Choosing Health white paper. Ministers are targeting areas such as childhood obesity, sexual health and smoking.