The West Midlands has a well established training pathway for both Core and Higher trainees. This is continually reviewed in accordance with RcPsych guidance to ensure that trainees are provided with the highest quality of training.
Over the past couple of years, psychiatry has been a popular choice amongst Foundation year trainees over taking other specialities with a 100% fill rate. The West Midlands School of Psychiatry offers streams of about 50 trainees per annum in the core training grade.
The clinical experience is augmented by the Birmingham MRCPsych course for core trainees. The course follows the RcPsych criteria for examinations with lectures provided by Consultants and UK leading experts in their sub-specialties. Additional leadership workshops help develop key management skills for the future. There is also the provision for practical skills sessions and small group teaching preparing trainees for the CASC examination. This programme has evolved over the years using professional actors and Consultants to recreate a MOCK style format. Audit and QI projects are plentiful in psychiatry and this is a rapidly expanding area with chances to also participate in research/academic programmes.
There are plenty of opportunities within core training to experience multiple sub specialities provided in the West Midlands area. The Barberry in South Birmingham is a national centre for mental health. The West Midlands covers a vast area from Stoke on Trent to the North and Worcester to the South. It is possible to move within this geographical location to gain experience in a specific specialty. This can be discussed with Educational supervisors and TPDs.
Trainees in Advanced training have time allocated in their job schedule to undertake special interests. In recent years many have taken advantage of the programmes offered by local universities (e.g. Birmingham, Keele, Warwick) including Masters programmes in gerontology, geriatric psychiatry, neuropsychiatry, forensic psychiatry and general psychiatry. Other local and national programmes include leadership and medical education which can be undertaken.
The West Midlands has a strong history of providing training for those seeking less than full-time training and this will continue to be a feature for the school. There is an allocated lead and the same opportunities provided as those that are completing full time training. This makes psychiatry a very flexible programme taking into account trainees with children and other responsibilities.