Portfolios are now used extensively within the field of psychiatry and our aim was to obtain trainees' feedback on their value. We used a questionnaire to evaluated trainees' priorities, what educational tools they found most helpful, how much time trainees spent on preparing their portfolios and the best and worst aspects of the portfolios.
The survey was completed by 207 out of 228 trainees (90.8%). The majority (58.4%) rated ‘Passing the ARCP [Annual Review of Competence Progression]’ as their top priority. More trainees found benefit from the feedback of workplace-based assessments (33.3%) than the ratings given (24.1%). Time spent on portfolios on a weekly basis ranged from 5 min to 12 h (the most common answer was 1–2 h). A total of 50.7% felt they did not have enough time to spend on their portfolios. Many found it encouraged reflective practice, but wanted more training for both trainees and trainers on how to use them properly.
The expansion of portfolios within the changing National Health Service requires careful planning and training, and perhaps some allocated time to complete them, so that trainees can derive the maximum benefits from the portfolio's intended purpose.