Continuing to choose psychiatry

This section provides information, case studies and support to help you return to specialist training, if you've taken a break from training. 

Choosing a specialty

Higher Psychiatry Training - or specialty training - normally takes three years.

During ST4, ST5 and ST6, your training will reflect the sub specialty you have chosen. You will train in child and adolescent, forensic, general adult, old age, psychotherapy or psychiatry of learning disabilities.

There will also be opportunities to work in other sub-specialties including: addictions, eating disorders, neuro psychiatry, perinatal and social and rehabilitation psychiatry.

Choosing the right specialty for you can be tricky.

See videos about each of the specialties and read the supplementary information to help you make your choice.


The transition from Core to Higher Training

Higher Training is different to Core Training in a number of ways.

You're focused on a specialty within psychiatry.

You get a day each week to focus on a project of your choice, and to undertake research. These days are called Special Interest Days and you can read what Higher Trainees say about them below. 

There are many other differences too.

During this campaign we'll be sharing the stories and experiences of Higher Trainees, as they reflect on the differences from Core to Higher Training, and why they're glad they continued to choose psychiatry.


Options during specialty training

Some higher trainees want extra flexibility to fit in with their lifestyle.

Among the options you can apply for are

  • Less Than Full Time Training: Trainees who undertake LTFT training do reduced hours. Specialist training takes longer to complete, but LTFT training allows trainees to spend part of their week pursuing other interests.
  • Out of Programme: Most higher trainees do their three years of specialist training consecutively, but you can apply to do Out of Programme which means you take a break of up to six months during higher training.
  • Dual Training: Rather than undertaken one specialty during higher training, you choose two.

During this year's Choose Psychiatry campaign, which we're also calling Continue to Choose Psychiatry, we'll be sharing stories from trainees who have taken up these options.

Dual Training

We start with Dr Samantha Perera, then we hear from Dr Sidra Chaudry.

Less Than Full Time Training

Dr Tom Fyall took Less Than Full Time training after his first child was born, working 80% of a full time post to support his young family, Read about his experience, including how colleagues reacted.

Dr Elizabeth Robertson took Less Than Full Time Training to help her start a family, and has moved from 60% to 80% as her children have got older. She speaks about her own experience of LTFT and whether she'd recommend it for people who are looking for more flexibility in working patterns for other reasons.

Special interest days

As a Higher Trainee you'll receive a day each week to dedicate to a special interest of your choice.

Watch this interview with Dr Sam Perera about why she values her special interest day, and read these great blog posts from Higher Trainees who are passionate about their special interest.

Returning to work

Psychiatrists take a break for many reasons - to start a family, to travel, simply to step away from training and to practise medicine without having to study.

But what is it like to return to work - or to return to higher training - after a break? How supported will you be.

During this Continue to Choose Psychiatry campaign, we'll be publishing blogs and videos in which psychiatrists who have been in this position talk about their own experience. 

Dr Lindsay Solera-Deuchar

We start with Dr Lindsay Solera-Deuchar, who speaks about the amazing things she did in her three year break after Core Training and why she thinks it is so important to return to Higher Training. 

Dr Samira Malik

Now we hear from Dr Samira Malik, one of the stars of the 2022 Choose Psychiatry campaign. who took a break from training to start a family.

Dr Fiona Duncan

Our second account of returning to Higher Training - after more than 10 years - comes from Dr Fiona Duncan.

Fiona thinks of her choice as 'one of the best things i have ever done'.

Read her inspiring blog post 'I could do that!'.

Dr Raka Maitra

Our third account comes from Dr Raka Maitra, who believes for some people it makes perfect sense to have a break and there are many benefits to it. But as someone who returned to training herself, she strongly believes in the benefits of coming back to Higher Training.

In her blog post Taking a break from training, and returning she explains why.

Becoming a consultant

When you complete your Specialty Training, you'll become a consultant.

What's life like as a consultant psychiatrist?

During the campaign we will hear from various consultants.

Our first interviewee of 2023 is Dr Fiona Martin, a General Adult Psychiatrist from Northern Ireland.

We also hear from Dr Elaine Lockhart, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist working in Scotland.

Listen to our interview with Dr Shahbaz Noor, a General Adult psychiatrist working at an in-patient unit in Plymouth.

Don't miss our interview with Dr Dearbhail Lewis, a consultant in Liaison Psychiatry, who works in Belfast.

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry