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A psychiatrist or consultant psychiatrist manages patients with mental health disorders. Psychiatric applicants must complete F1-2 before core training.

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The Route to Becoming a Consultant Psychiatrist

Applicants must complete the two-year Foundation Programme before applying for core training, and then higher specialist training in psychiatry. Training in general psychiatry starts with core psychiatry training (CT1-3), which lasts for three years, followed by higher speciality training (ST4-6). Core training consist of multiple four to six-month training posts in different areas of psychiatry.

Higher speciality training lasts three years during which time trainees complete examinations for membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Dual training is possible in both General and Old Age Psychiatry, as well as General and Medical Psychotherapy.

Job Progression as a Psychiatric Trainee

Higher specialist training consists of three blocks of 12 months each in areas that are relevant to general psychiatry. If trainees wish to subspecialise in substance misuse, rehabilitation or liaison psychiatry, they will need to undertake 12 months of training in one of these areas as part of the three-year higher specialist training programme. To progress to ST4 training, trainees need to have completed 36 months of full-time experience in Psychiatry, not including foundation modules.

Competition for Psychiatric Roles

The competition ratio for core psychiatric training in 2015 was 1.42 – with 662 applications for 466 posts, and in 2016, the competition ratios for ST4 posts nationally was 1.23 – with 214 applications for 174 posts. In August 2016, there were 2,832 general psychiatric consultants and 1,079 speciality registrars.

Salaries in Psychiatrics

The salary for NHS consultants ranges from £76,000 to £102, 500, and for speciality doctors from £37,500 to £70,000. The salary for doctors in training ranges from £26,350 to £45,750.

A Day in the Life of a Psychiatrist

Developing a therapeutic alliance with patients is an importance part of psychiatry work. Most psychiatric care is delivered in the community although inpatient care is available and important for some patients. Work in hospitals settings involves assessing patients on wards and running outpatient clinics. Appointments with new patients last an hour and follow-up appointments around 20-30 minutes. A consultant psychiatrist can expect to have about 10 hours allocated each week for non-clinical activities such as research, audit and teaching. Working hours are generally regular and following a standard working day. There tends to be less on-call work than in other acute medical and surgical specialties.


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