Okolo & Ogundipe (Psychiatric Bulletin, July 2006, 30, 275–277) could not substantiate why the research day was considered useful by consultant psychiatrists in the West Midlands, but the majority of trainees had used the day for non-research purposes. Perhaps this is why it was considered useful. Certainly, with the changing face of training in psychiatry and the emphasis on new ways of working for consultant psychiatrists (Department of Health, 2005), the day could be used to enhance skills that would be useful to consultants.
It was noted that the day was not particularly productive in terms of publications and no mention was made to this effect. Other issues for discussion are the local availability of suitable training and supervision for research, access to statistical advice, and the lack of clear consensus on what to do in the day. If the day is going to be used to pursue other interests, we need to rethink whether our current approach is beneficial. For example, Hewson et al (2006) proposed that management experience should be an integral part of training for future consultants at an earlier stage. Most would wish to have protected time to acquire specialised skills. We suggest a more pragmatic approach to the research day. Perhaps the first step would be to rechristen it (for example, ‘career enrichment day’). This day could be utilised by the specialist registrar to pursue their particular field of interest, be it research, a higher degree, audit or management.