University of Keele outranks University of Cambridge in creating psychiatrists of the future

Press release
20 October 2017
  • Peninsula College medical school ranked bottom of the psychiatry league table with on average just 1.4% of its medical school graduates progressing to psychiatry in the last three years
  • The University of Keele has produced on average more than double the percentage number of psychiatrists than the University of Cambridge since 2014

  • The RCPsych says medical schools in England must do more to put mental health at the heart of their curriculum to create a robust psychiatric workforce

20 October 2017: New figures uncovered by the Royal College of Psychiatrists show that in the last three years, the University of Keele produced on average more than double the percentage number of psychiatrists than the University of Cambridge.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists examined data showing the proportion of graduates from Universities in England who went on to become psychiatrists.

Between 2014 and 2016, 4.3% of medical school graduates from Keele went on to become psychiatrists compared to just 1.6% of graduates from the University of Cambridge.

Peninsula College ranked bottom of the table with only 1.4% of its graduates becoming psychiatrists since 2014.

The University of Keele, which was given university status in 1962, ranked first place alongside the University of Oxford for producing on average the highest percentage of psychiatrists across the three year period.

With 720 consultant psychiatrist vacancies in 2016, the RCPsych has created a psychiatry league table to encourage English medical schools to take steps to boost their contribution to creating psychiatrists of the future.

Psychiatry League Table

Average progression from medical school to psychiatry in England, 2014-16:


University of Keele – 4.3%

= 1.

University of Oxford – 4.3%


University of Leicester – 3.6%


University of St George’s – 3.4%

= 3.

University of Lancaster – 3.4%

= 3.

University of Warwick – 3.4%


Brighton & Sussex Medical School – 3.2%


Barts & The London – 3.1%


Norwich Medical School, UEA – 2.8%

= 6.

King’s College London – 2.8%

= 6.

University of Liverpool – 2.8%


Hull York Medical School– 2.7%


University of Birmingham – 2.6%


University of Newcastle – 2.3%

= 9.

University of Nottingham – 2.3%


University of Sheffield – 2.1%

= 10.

University College London – 2.1%


University of Bristol – 2.0%

= 11.

University of Southampton – 2.0%


University of Leeds – 1.7%

= 12.

Imperial College – 1.7%


University of Manchester – 1.6%

= 13.

University of Cambridge – 1.6%


Peninsula College – 1.4 %


Health Education England has said it will work to ensure a proportion of the 1500 additional medical school places promised by the Government will be allocated ‘to universities with a proven track record in producing psychiatrists’.

The RCPsych says medical schools must do more to put mental health at the heart of the curriculum. Its Choose Psychiatry campaign aims to tackle stigma against the profession and encourage more medical students to consider specialising in psychiatry.

For more information, visit| #ChoosePsychiatry | Choose Psychiatry, Make a Difference short film:


Notes to editors

  • The Health Education England Stepping forward to 2020/21: the mental health workforce plan for England workforce strategy outlines plans to allocate new medical school places to English medical schools to increase the mental health workforce. For this reason, only medical schools in England have been ranked in the league table.

  • All figures for percentage of psychiatrists produced by each medical school in England have been taken from Foundation Programme Career Destination Reports 2014-2016. An average has then been calculated from the yearly figures.

  • The data published in the annual Careers Destination Surveys by the UK Foundation Programme Office is limited as the percentages are all rounded up or down and the calculations to generate each percentage are also not included in the reports.

    • Of the top 5 schools for average progression, four never dropped below 2% progressing to psychiatry and the remaining one only fell below that level once. By contrast four of the bottom five did not achieve 2% twice in the three years and the other (Manchester) was unable to meet that level at any point.

    • 9 of the 24 medical schools had a gap of 1.2 percentage points or less between their best and worst years for progression rates, demonstrating relatively consistent performance over the period. This was found at both ends of the scale, although more commonly in the lower half of the table (two of the top seven and four of the bottom seven).

  • A consultant psychiatrist has trained for 13 years specialising in mental health:

    • a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council.

    • a 2-year foundation programme which forms the bridge between medical school and specialist/general practice training.
    • a 6-year specialist training programme separated into two parts: 3 years in core training which covers a range of psychiatric sub-specialties (eg. child and adolescent, older people, forensic or perinatal) and 3 years higher training which focuses on one (or two) psychiatric sub-specialties.

  • In 2016, the national average of trainee doctors going into core psychiatry was just 2.6% - a fill rate of 65.79%, the lowest of all medical specialties.

  • Psychiatrists are based in ‘secondary care’ – hospital or community-based teams that are specialists in mental health. People are referred to secondary care when their condition is too complex to be dealt with in primary care.

About the Royal College of Psychiatrists

  1. We are the professional medical body responsible for supporting over 18,000 psychiatrists in the UK and internationally.

  2. We set standards and promote excellence in psychiatry and mental healthcare.

  3. We lead, represent and support psychiatrists nationally and internationally to governments and other agencies.

  4. We aim to improve the outcomes of people with mental illness, and the mental health of individuals, their families and communities. We do this by working with patients, carers and other organisations interested in delivering high quality mental health services.

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