Recent training and education changes have raised important issues in delivery of psychiatric education at all levels. In this article, the authors describe the current status of mental health education in the training of all doctors and postgraduate training and education in psychiatry in the U.K.
The authors explore and describe some of the initiatives that are being used in order to increase exposure to mental health placements in the Foundation Program, and they then describe the existing specific mental health opportunities within general practice and other specialist training programs.
After graduation from medical school, a two-year Foundation training program is a must, and, at the end of the first year, trainees become eligible for full registration with the “regulator,” the General Medical Council; after finishing the second year, they become eligible to undertake specialist training. Psychiatry training takes up to 6 years, and six specialties are recognized as leading to certificates for completion of training before independent practice. These six specialties are 1) general and community; 2) child and adolescent; 3) medical psychotherapy; 4) forensic psychiatry; 5) psychiatry of old age; and 6) psychiatry of learning disability. Also, three subspecialties—liaison psychiatry, addictions, and rehabilitation—form a part of the training in general and community psychiatry.
The authors discuss advantages and disadvantages of such an approach and raise key issues related to ongoing work to improve recruitment, progression, and retention of trainee psychiatrists.