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

Trainee or Registrar? A call for change

Last Friday (24 October) I chaired my second meeting of Council. The Psychiatric Trainees’ Committee, now chaired by Dr Karl Scheeres, had circulated a paper ‘Trainee or Registrar? A call for change’.


The paper set out the Committee’s concerns which regard to the use of the term ‘trainee’ which is disliked by doctors in training, and is often misunderstood by the public and which risks undermining their professionalism. The term belittles the skills and expertise that doctors in training have gained, and, we were told by our own user group, is not understood by nurses or patients, assuming that ‘trainee’ equates to being a medical student.


There was general consensus from members of Council to use the word ‘registrar’ rather than ‘trainee’ for all post foundation doctors in training in the UK. The suggestion that we also use the term “senior registrar”, for those doctors with more experience and seniority, was also accepted. I have to report however that this was also greeted with ironic laughter by those of a certain age, including myself. I just can’t think why.


This change will now need to be incorporated into the College bye-laws and will therefore need to be approved by the Privy Council, but cannot take effect until it has been agreed at the Annual General Meeting next July in Birmingham.  The Mills of God do grind slowly, but they get there in the end.


28 October 2014

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