The term ‘portfolio’ career is when a
psychiatrist undertakes a variety of activities, rather than being
in full-time employment with a single employer. This
frequently follows retirement from the National Health Service
(NHS), but may occur at any point of your career.
What may be in a portfolio?
This table is not exhaustive, but
indicates the variety of possible commitments a portfolio
psychiatrist may have.
Possible commitments of a
- Clinical, Voluntary, Overseas
- Work for voluntary
remain passively on the General Medical Council (GMC) Medical
Register. Each psychiatrist will have to meet the requirements for
revalidation and recertification for specialist practice, which
includes an annual appraisal covering your entire scope of
All doctors on the GMC
general register will have to be revalidated on a 5-yearly basis.
This is based on the Good Medical Practice guidance (GMC, 2013) and
- Annual appraisal including a standardised
module agreed by the GMC.
- Independent 360-degree (multi-source)
Any issues concerning the doctor’s conduct
or practice should have been resolved before the appraisal to the
satisfaction of the responsible officer (usually the medical
director) and the regional GMC affiliate.
Doctors with a portfolio career still need
to revalidate to continue in many of their roles. To do this, you
will still require a responsible officer, and need to undertake
annual appraisal which covers your entire scope of practice.
The Royal college of Psychiatrists runs a
Revalidation helpdesk. You can find more information
To comply with the Data
Protection Act 1998, you must register with the Information
Commissioner’s Office (www.ico.gov.uk) if you hold records
containing ‘person-sensitive information’: date of birth,
ethnicity, confidential case notes, etc.
Check that your workplace
is registered and inspected under the Care Standards Act 2000.
Unless there is a good clinical reason, avoid seeing patients at
their home, in the your home, in isolated facilities or without a
chaperone (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2007).
For many portfolio doctors it is
advantageous to be self- employed for tax purposes, as more
professional expense are allowable. It is very important, as well
as a legal requirement, to keep clear financial records, including
copies of incoming and outgoing invoices.
If you are employing
staff, one of the easiest ways to organise your finances is through
an accountant with a payroll department. They can advise on all
aspects of pay, including tax and national insurance liability,
contracts, grievance procedures and employer’s liability
Before you decide to
reduce or cease full-time paid employment, it is advisable to check
your pension position. The NHS Business Services
will be able to tell you what your entitlement is, NHS HR may also
be able to help. If you still have questions, the British Medical
Association (BMA) can offer advice http://www.bma.org.uk/. Beyond
this, professional financial advice attuned to the needs of doctors
may be helpful.
If a proportion of your
income comes from a non-NHS source, you may also want to consider
contributing to a private pension scheme. A good independent
financial adviser can provide further details on this. Paying a
small monthly amount is often a relatively painless way of
contributing and you can also supplement this with a lump sum at
the end of the tax year.
Many psychiatrists support
the work of voluntary organisations, such as Age Concern, Young
Minds, Mencap, the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of
Torture, the Samaritans, etc. If you are working in a voluntary
capacity, you still need to maintain professional requirements,
especially when seeing patients. This may need clarification with
the organisation concerned and there may be funds available for
training and the necessary CPD. Some organisations pay expenses
only. The Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO; http://www.vso.org.uk/) offers
well-organised opportunities for specialist work abroad.
Which group within the college
can help me?
Educational Services Department can advise on CPD requirements.
There is also a network of regional CPD advisers. The Private and
Independent Practice Special Interest Group (PIPSIG) helps to
promote good practice and brings together doctors in the same
position. Faculties are also developing standards and are a source
of up-to-date information.
How can I get an appraisal or
supervision if I am working outside a managed
Some NHS trusts provide
appraisals for their recently retired or part-time consultants.
Even if your trust does not operate such a scheme, it may be worth
asking, as some employers will provide appraisal if requested. This
should follow the current NHS template, which is available online
When having an appraisal, you should ensure that you present
evidence, such as audits and patient surveys, for all the
situations you work in. It is also important that you demonstrate
that you can reflect.
The Private and
Independent Practice Special Interest Group (PIPSIG) at the Royal
College has information that will support doctors who work outside
a managed organisation.
What are the CPD
The College system
requires50 hours of CPD per year, in a number of domains, including
clinical CPD. CPD submissions are now made online subject to
approval by you PDP group.
Do I have to keep up with CPD
requirements if I am retired or work part-time?
CPD is about helping to
promote good practice. It is essential for all those continuing to
work with patients to maintain CPD requirements.
How can I find a CPD
College conferences and
Faculty meetings are good places for making contacts. Look for
others in the same position as yourself.
What is ‘multi-source
feedback’ and how do I get it?
or360-degree appraisal is for Psychiatrists are questionnaires
sent to a large number of colleagues, juniors, other staff
and service users to get an overall view of clinical practice.
There are various systems available, but not all may be suited to
all forms of practice. It is compulsory for relicensing and
HM Revenue &
CPD : http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/workinpsychiatry/cpd.aspx
The information can be used as a guide
only and is not a substitute for professional advice. If you need
further advice and support, please contact the Psychiatrists’
© Royal College of Psychiatrists 2016
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