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

Update on the Recruitment Strategy

Tom Brown: Associate Registrar for Recruitment

Improving recruitment

Tom Brown: Associate Registrar for Recruitment

As you will be aware the College launched a 5 year Recruitment Strategy earlier this year. If you have not already read the Recruitment Strategy I would urge you to do this as improving recruitment is the business of all psychiatrists and not solely a College committee. I would particularly like to draw your attention to the appendices, which provide guidance on a number of initiatives that may be helpful in improving recruitment to psychiatry.

Exciting initiatives

The College’s Divisions, supported by the Faculties and Sections (in particular the Academic Faculty), are of central importance in delivering the goals of the strategy around the UK. Most Divisions have set up their own local recruitment committee to oversee this. This is already beginning to bear fruit and a range of exciting initiatives have been taking place, which include:


  • A buddying scheme in Liverpool started by a psychiatry trainee (Dr Declan Hyland).  This aims to ‘buddy’ junior psychiatrists with interested medical students/foundation doctors to help support and maintain their interest in psychiatry.
  • A scheme in the South West Division where psychiatry trainees organise and oversee foundation programme taster weeks in psychiatry.
  • A ‘Twilight Meeting’ organised by the London Division for foundation doctors interested in a career in psychiatry. The Division is also co-organising a conference with the Royal Society of Medicine on 13 November 2012: Psychiatry as a career: Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.
  • An increasing number of Psychiatry Summer Schools were held in 2012 in Durham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Northampton, Preston and Sheffield.
  • A ‘Top Tips’ factsheet has been produced for consultants and trainees to assist them in helping medical students make the best of their placement.


These are merely a few of the initiatives taking place.  If you would like to find out more about these please contact

Charlotte Collins.

Psychiatry societies

Most UK medical schools now have psychiatry societies. The Division Recruitment Leads are working to ensure these psychiatry societies are given support and encouragement from local psychiatrists. 


If you would like to help support your local psychiatry society or speak at their events please contact Charlotte Collins. If your nearest medical school has no psychiatry society perhaps you would like to help set one up with interested medical students.  Please see appendix XI of the Recruitment Strategy for advice on how to do this.


The Student Associate Scheme

The Student Associate scheme continues to grow, with over 3000 medical students and foundation doctors registered to date.  I would exhort members to encourage all medical students and foundation doctors with whom they have contact with to join as a Student Associate. Student Associates have their own:



Taster weeks feedback

In March 2012 I sent an email to all members about the need to improve access to foundation programme taster weeks in psychiatry and enclosed templates that provided guidance on how to organise these. It is difficult to assess how successful this has been and we would value feedback from members on the uptake of these. I would be grateful if you could provide feedback to Charlotte Collins. I strongly encourage colleagues to offer taster weeks in psychiatry as even with the prospect of increased numbers of F1 and F2 post in psychiatry most foundation doctors will not do a psychiatry post during their training.



Finally, at the recent International Congress in Liverpool a successful session on recruitment was held. 65 medical students and foundation doctors also attended for free on the Friday and a newly created Student Associate poster presentation prize was awarded. This attracted a good number of high quality entrants  It was won by David Whiteside and the runner-up was Emma Merrick.


The College’s recruitment related initiatives are not set in stone and I would welcome comments and suggestions from colleagues (both trainees and consultants), and indeed from medical students and foundation doctors themselves. I am confident the initiatives which are in place will improve recruitment to psychiatry but I am always interested to hear from members with their own views and suggestions.




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