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Problems in NHS psychiatry and recruitment chaos – are they related?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Venkata B. Kolli
Affiliation:
Wedgwood House, Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, Hardwick Lane, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 2QZ, email: venkata.kolli@smhp.nhs.uk
Jonathan Lyons
Affiliation:
Wedgwood House, Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
Danica Ralevic
Affiliation:
Wedgwood House, Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
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Abstract

Type
The columns
Creative Commons
Creative Common License - CCCreative Common License - BY
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Copyright
Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2009

The article ‘The trouble with NHS Psychiatry in England’ Reference St John-Smith, McQueen, Michael, Ikkos, Denman and Maier1 coincided with the Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Professor Howard's interview on Channel 4 news on 4 June 2009. Reference Hannam and Wivell2 The very fact that psychiatry is one of the least favoured specialties for UK medical graduates suggests that there is trouble with NHS psychiatry in the UK. Perhaps the College and its members need to look at the possible reasons. Reference Kerby, Calton, Dimambro, Flood and Glazebrook3

The College has already been dealing with stigma that psychiatry and psychiatry patients face. It appears that many recent medical graduates secured a psychiatry post as part of their foundation training on the basis of favourable placements as a medical student Reference Eagles, Wilson, Murdoch and Brown4 at the time of ‘old’ ways of working. Unfortunately, their subsequent experience with the ‘new’ ways of working for psychiatrists has been less reassuring. They have often noticed psychiatrists being marginalised and their role being reduced to firefighting with a lack of proactive interventions. This has led to many medical graduates deciding not to take up a career in psychiatry or even to seek higher training in psychiatry abroad.

Medical graduates are often attracted to various specialties by role models. Reference Wright, Wong and Newill5 We wonder whether a relative lack of role models is the reason for UK graduates not opting for psychiatry. In his interview on Channel 4 news, Professor Howard suggested that psychiatry is being forced to recruit trainees who just meet the minimum criteria. This might lead to fewer role models in psychiatry, further recruitment problems and more trouble.

Perhaps the College might consider introducing ‘newer’ ways of working, recruiting and training.

References

1 St John-Smith, P, McQueen, D, Michael, A, Ikkos, G, Denman, C, Maier, M, et al. The trouble with NHS psychiatry in England. Psychiatr Bull 2009; 33: 219–25.Google Scholar
2 Hannam, L, Wivell, J. Psychiatry's UK recruitment crisis. Channel 4 News 2009; 4 June (http://www.channel4.com/news/article.jsp?id=3190557).Google Scholar
3 Kerby, J, Calton, T, Dimambro, B, Flood, C, Glazebrook, C. Anti-stigma films and medical students? attitudes towards mental illness and psychiatry: randomised controlled trial. Psychiatr Bull 2008; 32: 345–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
4 Eagles, JM, Wilson, S, Murdoch, JM, Brown, T. What impact do undergraduate experiences have upon recruitment into psychiatry? Psychiatr Bull 2007; 31: 70–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
5 Wright, S, Wong, A, Newill, C. The impact of role models on medical students. J Gen Intern Med 1997; 12: 53–6.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
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