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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness


In response to the Junior Doctor Contract dispute in England, the Psychiatric Trainees’ Committee recognised that there was an urgent need to review morale and training within psychiatry across all four nations and that all voices must be given a chance to be heard.


Divisional representatives of the PTC organised and led a series of regional focus groups. These were held across all eleven regional divisions of the Royal College of Psychiatrists between June 2016 – January 2017. This was followed by a national survey. Each focus group concentrated on three key lines of enquiry, highlighting what trainees thought was currently working well and what steps we could take to improve in the future.

In April 2017 we published our final review:


Supported and Valued – a trainee led review into morale and training in psychiatry


While more work needs to be done to ensure equitable training opportunities throughout the UK, the quality of psychiatric training and the opportunities we receive exceeds many other specialties.


We were touched by the expressions of gratitude from trainees towards their seniors and their multidisciplinary colleagues throughout this review. We encourage all psychiatrists to be ambassadors for the profession by encouraging others to #choosepsychiatry and to support and value one another.


We are pleased to receive ongoing support from our College Officers and welcome their commitments to learn from the evidence gathered within this review and, in conjunction with the PTC, act on the issues raised.

  • The PTC are producing a guide to help local education providers develop ‘Enhanced Junior Doctor Forums’. Through regular communication with senior management we believe that, if implemented and engaged with effectively, this will lead to the resolution of many concerns that were raised as part of this review.
  • The PTC are initiating a national review ‘Staying safe - a trainee-led review into fatigue within psychiatry’. Exploring the working conditions and facilities available to psychiatric trainees out of hours we hope to highlight best practice and introduce guidelines for local education providers to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all trainees across the UK.
  • In collaboration, the Education and Training Committee, Head of Schools Committee and PTC, are preparing national ARCP guidance for Core Trainees and a policy for competency vs. time based progression through training. Aiming to alleviate anxiety and reduce inconsistencies across the UK in the standards required to achieve a satisfactory outcome at ARCP we hope this will make a real difference to trainees across the UK.
  • In conjunction with the Leadership and Management Committee, the PTC are establishing an in-programme leadership and management scheme that will be available across the UK for higher trainees providing greater career autonomy.

The PTC will continue to drive improvements in the quality of training and in supporting and valuing each other. However, the real power is with you. We all have autonomy over our behaviour and, on the basis of our findings, we implore you to make a difference. Through the power of marginal gains, even the smallest of changes can make a big difference. 


Dr Alex Till, Supported and Valued Lead 


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