A 6,000-strong campaigning organisation has been formed from the merger of two existing public health groups.

The Royal Institute of Public Health and the Royal Society for Health now form the new Royal Society for Public Health, which launched last week. Inaugural chair Professor Alan Maryon-Davis said it would work to boost the image of a sector which is often labelled one of the "Cinderella areas" of the NHS.

Public advocate

He said: "The new body will be a real force, particularly around advocating for public health, delivering interesting, exciting training programmes and qualifications and working in partnership with government and other key stakeholders."

He added: "Raising the profile of public health is one of the key goals for the new organisation.

The society will focus its training on those working in areas where public health has a relevance but do not have a specific public health remit, such as doctors, nurses, teachers and town planners.

HSJ's Promoting Health and Preventing Illness conference is in Birmingham on 13 November.