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

Psychiatric Trainees Committee Blog

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25/01/2016 13:54:16

PTC Elections

So, it's election time again. Whilst the PTC elections won't get the media attention they may well deserve, we are fortunate that the calibre of the candidates tends to be exceptional (as I have seen first hand over the past 4 years). This is not meant to scare you from but rather inspire you into applying. I've always found working with a group of talented individuals pushes me further and drives me to achieve more.

To be honest, prior to applying for the PTC 4 years ago as a CT2 doctor I thought being a doctor meant solely diagnosing and treating patients on the wards and in clinics. It struck me though, as I moved through training, that alongside the important clinical aspects of the job there were ways to have a wider and broader positive impact on patients. What if you were empowered to improve training such that all future patients benefitted from increasingly skilled and content psychiatrists? Grandiose? Perhaps. But it's what drove me to apply for the PTC.

I learnt early on that not only were there opportunities for me to improve the educational aspects to psychiatric training, but that being part of the PTC would afford me opportunities to grow and develop my own skills in leadership and management that I hope I'll be able to use throughout my career.

Looking back over my PTC journey, I remember attending the annual meeting and induction in Cardiff in 2012. I was immediately impressed with the talented trainees that I met. The annual meeting and induction is a rite of passage for all new members of the PTC and occurs alternately across the four nations of the U.K. It is a great opportunity to meet your fellow committee members, be brought up to speed on the work of the committee and there is also a little downtime to get to know one another.

During my time on the PTC I have been involved in assessing the core curriculum, considering how the future psychiatric workforce might look, gaining trainees' feedback into how an exit exam ought to look as well as contributing to work on the impact of the Shape of Training review on psychiatric training. As my time on the committee progressed, and my understanding of its workings increased, I was supported in applying for an officer position. In 2014 I was elected vice-chair of the committee and in 2015 to chair. This is a position I feel honoured to hold. I aim to continue to improve the training climate for psychiatric trainees through supporting the whole committee. Now is an interesting time to join. We are in the midst of junior doctor and consultant contract changes which will undoubtedly impact on our training, recruitment and retention. We need to be strategic in thinking how we will address issues such as trainee recruitment and retention, changing expectations of employers and the public, changing demographics and expectations of trainees and much more. To do this, the PTC needs to continue to attract fantastic trainees and this is where you come in. Fill in the forms found here.

You will meet people that will inspire you, support you and drive you to achieve much. My PTC membership is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my psychiatric training. I'd be happy to discuss things further with any of you who would like to - you can contact me at

Good luck!



13/11/2015 14:18:16

Junior doctors and the Secretary of State

Dr Matt ToveyThe College has spoken up for its junior doctors

It's been about 2 months since I began as Chair of the Psychiatric Trainees' Committee and, whilst I certainly didn't expect a quiet year, I'm not sure I could have predicted just how much would happen in such a short time. Clearly, two of the most talked about issues in health policy at the moment are the push for parity of esteem between mental health and physical health and, of course, the current junior doctors' contract dispute. My role appears to put me right at the heart of the interface between the two, although in the last week or so it has felt like being right in the eye of a political hurricane.

As a representative of trainee psychiatrists I have been very pleased that our College has been so supportive of their junior doctors. I do not say this lightly, as I've become only too aware of the political sensitivities that surround issues such as the current contract dispute and, while it is not the role of a Royal College to discuss terms and conditions, it is important that they speak up about the value of the work of their junior doctors. And ours has done so.

An invitation from the Secretary of State

This week I was surprised to receive an invitation to arrange for a group of trainees to meet the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, to discuss non contractual issues regarding the work and recruitment of psychiatric trainees. After discussing it with members of the PTC, I was happy to accept the invitation but I have asked to postpone the meeting until after the current junior doctors dispute is resolved.

There are a number of key issues I believe that it would be very helpful to discuss with the Secretary of State, including the reasons why fewer doctors wish to specialise in psychiatry than other areas, how best we support those who do choose to work in psychiatry and generally how we can work with the Government to achieve parity of esteem for mental health.

With such an important agenda we thought it was best to make sure our meeting was delayed until after the current dispute around junior doctors' contracts as we would not want the issues to be conflated.

As ever, if you have anything you'd like to bring to the attention of the PTC, you can contact your local representatives, e-mail or tweet @RCPsychTrainees

12/08/2014 09:53:41

Exciting new developments

Majority of NHS trusts declare same-sex accommodationNational news

It has been a busy few months for the trainees and the PTC, with a number of exciting developments. 


Trainees have made the national news and had questions asked in Parliament following the shocking results from a survey by the Psychiatric Trainees’ Committee. Over 500 trainees responded to questions about accessing inpatients beds and the responses were truly alarming.  22% had sent a child over 200 miles away for a bed and 18% said their decision to use the Mental Health Act had been influenced by the likelihood of securing a bed.


This highlights the challenges that many trainees face in providing the care patients need, within the current resourcing environment. It also demonstrates the power that we can have to make our voice heard at a national level about important issues that affect our patients.



No to further exams

For a number of years the College had been considering the development of an Exit exam, to be taken by trainees towards the end of higher training. A survey by the PTC canvassed the view of some two thousand trainees and consultants about such an assessment, which was a very impressive response. The answer was a resounding no to further exams.


This was the principal driver for shelving plans to develop such a test for the foreseeable future, which is a fantastic result. The PTC is keen that the effort people put in to answering the survey is not wasted and has been working hard to analyse the results of the survey. This rich source of information will be used to inform decisions about other developments in higher training.


Taxing issue

Following a number of successful test cases brought by trainees in other specialties to claim back tax on College membership exams, a member of the PTC has managed to do the same. The PTC is keen to encourage psychiatric trainees who have taken membership examinations within the last four years to consider making a claim. 


To aid you in this process we have provided a template letter, adapted from the one used by the PTC member who claimed a rebate. Unfortunately we are not in a position to offer individual advice and would recommend that you contact a professionally qualified adviser if you have detailed questions.


Medfest 2014MedFest

MedFest, the hugely successful medical film festival run by psychiatric trainees, continued to expand to reach even larger numbers of people. Feedback from medical students has shown that they are more likely to consider a career in psychiatry after attending. This year, Medfest held events in medical schools across the UK and abroad, as far afield as Australia. There was also a special Gala event at the College, an art version and musical evenings.



Exchange scheme

We were very pleased to host the European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees’ (EFPT) Annual Forum 2014. The Forum brought together delegates from over thirty countries with the theme of ‘Making Links’. The EFPT performs research into issues affecting trainees across Europe, allows trainees to share experiences of training and runs a fantastic exchange scheme to allow people to observe practice in another country. 


We also welcomed three Canadian trainees, who attended the Congress as part of an exchange designed to increase cooperation between Canada and the UK.



We need your vote

Elections for half the divisions in the UK are coming up soon. Please do vote if your region is holding elections. The PTC is a great way to represent your colleagues and get involved in the wide-ranging work that the College does, from exams to policy, recruitment to research, there is so much going on.


26/11/2013 10:57:18

Autumn 2013

New representatives


PTC Blog

Congratulations to the many of you who recently passed exams and particularly to those who have gained your membership of the College. It was great to see some of you and your proud friends and family at the Membership Ceremony in London on 13 November.

The PTC recently welcomed many new representatives at the annual residential meeting in Belfast on 18 and 19 October and we have been looking at some really exciting areas of work over the next year.


Major review of postgraduate medical training

The current system of medical training in the UK has evolved over many years, with changes often stimulated by a number of significant reports. A major review of postgraduate medical training called the Shape of Training has just published its recommendations. This could have big implications for the way that we as psychiatrists train, but may also impact how we work and learn during our entire careers. 

We are very keen to involve trainees in this process and make sure that our views play a role in any implementation. Thank you to everyone who shared your thoughts with the PTC. These have highlighted positives in the recommendations, but also identified areas where greater clarification is desirable or more work is needed.

All the comments have been distilled in to a psychiatric trainees’ response for publication on the College website. Please continue to send your reactions through to the PTC email, so that we can input them in to the process as it develops.

We are keen to make it easy for trainees to understand the similarities and differences in training across the four nations of the UK. To this end we are developing a guide to psychiatric training across the UK, considering aspects such as mental health legislation, the way that services are designed and how medical education is delivered. 

In response to trainees concerns we have also established a new group to look at maximising welfare, ensuring that every trainee is able to get the most out of their training.  


Two new members

The PTC welcomes two new co-opted members. Dr Genevieve Holt is the Trainee Editor helping to develop the new Trainees Online programme.  This is a resource specifically designed to meet trainees’ educational needs and many trainees have already been identified as authors of individual modules. 

Dr Alex Langford is organising the hugely popular, highly regarded and now international MedFest that enthuses medical students about psychiatry through film.


Enthusiastic trainees needed

In June of 2014 we look forward to hosting the European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees’ Forum at the new College building. This brings together trainees from over 30 European countries and is a truly inspirational opportunity to share experiences with colleagues who can offer very different perspectives. Enthusiastic trainees are needed to help organise the event.

Please feedback you thoughts and follow us on social media.



14/08/2013 15:43:10


Sharing the work


PTC Blog

The Psychiatric Trainees Committee (PTC) represents trainees from across the UK through elected representatives from each of the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s geographical regions. 


It actively participates in every part of College life, influencing policy through involvement with almost every committee. This helps to ensure the best possible psychiatric training, for the benefit of mental health service users and their carers. It also represents UK trainees internationally at the European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees (EFPT).


This blog aims to share the work of the PTC with all trainees and the wider membership and to encourage trainees of all grades to get involved!


It will provide updates approximately every quarter, complementing the PTC’s own newsletter The Registrar and twitter @RCPsychTrainees


If you have suggestions about what it should include or other ideas on how the PTC can communicate about its work more effectively, please email



Recent work

Highlights of the PTC’s recent work include:



The PTC has been keenly involved with increasing recruitment to the specialty through a number of exciting initiatives:


  • Medfest is an extremely popular medical film festival run by psychiatric trainees in cooperation with medical students. It is now in its third year and has spread across the UK and even to Ireland. Previous themes have included the Power of Medicine and Understanding Illness through Film.
  • PTC members have also been involved in setting up student buddy schemes and summer schools, to give medical students and foundation doctors a greater insight in to a career in psychiatry.




  • The General Medical Council requires all Colleges to establish an exit exam to ensure the confidence of the public in doctors’ skills. The PTC have been proactively involved in shaping what the new RCPsych exam will look like and has sought views through a survey. The response has been overwhelming, with nearly 2,000 replies that will be analysed and the results fed back to the College. This input will ensure that the exam that results is useful for trainees on the brink of completing their training to help them make the transition to consultant, with the minimum of burden.
  • Many trainees have raised concerns about the number of exams needed to obtain membership.  The College has responded to views voiced by the PTC and is planning to streamline the written papers from three to two.


Out of Hours


  • Working patterns in psychiatry are changing rapidly, leading to a number of trainees contacting the PTC worried about the quality of experience achievable in the out of hours setting.  As a result of the PTC highlighting these concerns, the College is now establishing a working group to investigate.


Core Curriculum


  • A survey conducted by the PTC has collected a wealth on feedback on the core curriculum, which will be used to determine how it evolves to provide a meaningful roadmap to training that trainees can use to frame their own development.


Portfolio 2.0


  • PTC members have been enthusiastically involved in the design of the new and improved portfolio, which promises to be faster and simpler to use than the current version.


New Building

The College is moving to new premises and the PTC has been involved in ensuring that the building has facilities that all trainees can use, like video conferencing and informal meeting spaces. They have even been involved in making a film about the transition.


PTC Newsletter

‘The Registrar’ is published several times a year on the website and is distributed via email.  It is packed with original articles relevant for trainees and signposts some great opportunities.  The latest edition features winning articles published as a result of the competition on the theme of Bridging the Divide.


European Exchange Programme


  • Through the EFPT UK trainees have the opportunity to experience 2-6 weeks working in another European country. The next application period opens in November 2013. Find out more...


Could you be a Representative?

The PTC is involved in a huge range of other work, including liaising with other specialties in the UK and psychiatric trainees across the world.  If you want your views to be heard, please contact your local representative.


If you are really passionate, then why not stand for election as a representative yourself? To find out more, visit PTC.



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PTC Elections

2016 elections are being held for the following divisions:

Completed nominations should be sent either by post to Sue Duncan, Elections Administrator; scanned and emailed to; or by fax to 0843 659 3591. Nominations must arrive no later than Thursday 18th February, 2016. 



Dr Karl Scheeres, PTC Chair


The idea for a PTC Blog came from a trainees’ session we held – we asked what more we could be doing to keep you informed about our work and to encourage trainees to contact us. A blog to supplement our newsletter was one of the best, and one of the simplest suggestions, so we decided there and then that we’d make it happen!


We’d like to start off with an introduction to the PTC and what we’ve been doing this year  – I hope it will serve as a useful primer for those joining psychiatry for the first time but also for more seasoned trainees.


Over the next few blogs you’ll be hearing personally from the trainees on our Committee. I hope you enjoy this introduction prepared by a few of our reps. If you like the sound of any of our projects, or have something else you’d like to know more about please do get in touch!




Support: PTC Support

Tel: 0203 701 2627