The Scottish Training & Recruitment Group (STaRG) was set up over 10 years ago by an informal group of like-minded Members who carried out incredible work towards improving recruitment and retention into the profession. In 2020, the Group evolved to become the Choose Psychiatry in Scotland (CPS) Committee, a formally recognised sub-Committee of the Devolved Council of Scotland.
The CPS committee will carry on the work of STaRG as well as oversee the recruitment, retention and wellbeing agenda of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland (RCPsychiS). It will work closely with a number of stakeholders, such as NHS Education for Scotland (NES), and it's Mental Health Specialty Training Board, as well as University undergraduate leads and medical student psychiatric societies (PsychSocs). It will continue to work closely with the RCPsychiS Medical Managers Group, Scottish Faculties and the Psychiatric Trainees Committee along with related UK College Committees (Choose Psychiatry, Education & Training, Workforce, and Wellbeing).
Following on from the Minister for Mental Health’s speech at the 2019 Mental Health Forum, in which the Scottish Government recognised the importance of the psychiatric workforce within mental health services, RCPsychiS has secured financial support from NES to continue its work in promoting the profession of psychiatry around the country in 2020. This follows on from the successful Choose Psychiatry in Scotland campaign assisted by a Scottish Government grant awarded in late 2018.
The Committee earmarked this new funding for a number of activities related to recruitment into the profession, for example:
- the development and production of Choose Psychiatry in Scotland promotional materials
- planning of every medical student in Scotland to receive a welcome pack from RCPsychiS at the commencement of their psychiatry placement.
- offering event bursaries to medical students and foundation doctors to attend RCPsych conferences year-round, as well as for local networking events (please see attached flyers and share these with your peers and colleagues).
- promoting psychiatry training and careers in Scotland by hosting an exhibition stand at the virtual International Congress in June 2021
- planning of a national summer school in August 2021
- planning of a Startwell event in October 2021
The collaborative efforts to promote the profession as well as address ongoing workforce issues has culminated recently in an expansion of FY posts, a pilot Psychiatry Priority Programme (North Scotland) and we are awaiting confirmation of additional core training posts to be available for the August 2021 recruitment rounds.
In addition, we will soon be advertising posts of Regional Advisors and Deputy Regional Advisors. The job descriptions
are currently being amended to better reflect their roles in Scotland. These appointments will also be Choose Psychiatry Champions across Scotland. Given the concerning workforce vacancies and training fill rates, we would encourage members
to come forward, apply for these roles and support the important work of this campaign in their region.
If members, of any grade, wish to become involved or have ideas on how to promote recruitment into psychiatry, retention of existing staff, and the wellbeing of the profession, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Chair: Dr Ihsan Kader, Consultant Psychiatrist, Edinburgh Intensive Home Treatment Team, Royal Edinburgh Hospital
Secretary: Susan Richardson, RCPsych in Scotland Co-ordinator