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Quality assurance of approved out of programme psychiatry training and research over the past 5 years

  • Victoria Osman-Hicks (a1) (a2), Hannah Graham (a1), Peter Leadbetter (a1) (a3) and Andrew Brittlebank (a1) (a4)
Abstract
Aims and method

This paper intends to analyse the number of applications, trainee demographic and approval rate of those applying for out of programme training (OOPT) or out of programme research (OOPR) between January 2008 and April 2013 using the committee's anonymised database. We also describe the process of application and approval by the Quality Assurance Committee.

Results

There were 90 applications, including 10 resubmissions during the 64-month period. Most applicants (77%) were higher trainees; 53% of applicants were from the London deanery; 60% of applications were for research posts and higher degrees (OOPR). Overall, 64% were approved by the committee: 70% for OOPRs and 53% for OOPTs.

Clinical implications

This paper shows with transparency the breakdown of applications to the Quality Assurance Committee. Around two-thirds of applications to the committee are supported (64%). Relatively few psychiatry trainees (2.5%) have applied for an OOPT or an OOPR over the past 5 years.

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Copyright
This is an open-access article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence to Dr Victoria Osman-Hicks (v.osman-hicks@nhs.net)
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 Modernising Medical Careers. The Gold Guide: A Reference Guide for Postgraduate Speciality Training in the UK (4th edn). Modernising Medical Careers, 2010.
2 Sackett, DL, Rosenberg, WM, Gray, JA, Haynes, RB, Richardson, WS. Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn't. BMJ 1996; 312: 71–2.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 2056-4694
  • EISSN: 2056-4708
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Quality assurance of approved out of programme psychiatry training and research over the past 5 years

  • Victoria Osman-Hicks (a1) (a2), Hannah Graham (a1), Peter Leadbetter (a1) (a3) and Andrew Brittlebank (a1) (a4)
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eLetters

Black and minority ethnic psychiatry trainees are substantially less likely to apply for out of programme training or research

Rashmi K. Patel, MRC Clinical Research Training Fellow, Department of Psychosis Studies, King's College London
03 June 2015

Osman-Hicks et al (1) highlight the low overall rate of applications for out of programme training (OOPT) and out of programme research (OOPR) among UK psychiatry trainees. They investigated whether there were differences in outcomes of applications depending on ethnicity and found no statistically significant difference, concluding that this “supports the transparency of the application process by ethnicity”. However, the authors failed to comment on the major discrepancy between ethnic groups in the numbers of trainees submitting applications. Just 0.7% of black and minority ethnic trainees submitted applications compared to 3.9% of white trainees (OR 0.18, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.32, p<0.001). Would the authors comment on the possible explanations for this major discrepancy in application rates between different ethnic groups and what action would help to address this?

The authors also conclude that the low numbers of OOPR applications “suggests that there is a relatively low interest in research opportunities outside of the academic clinical fellow scheme”. However, this is a bold assumption to make in the absence of data ascertaining the degree to which trainees are interested in pursuing OOPR. An alternative explanation might be that trainees are keen to pursue research training and apply for OOPR to be counted towards their CCT, but are put off by the enormous amount of bureaucracy involved in the application process which has no fewer than 11 steps involving the LETB, RCPsych Quality Assurance Committee and the General Medical Council. The authors also focus a great deal on reasons for non-approval of submitted applications (which appear to be mostly related to an apparent inflexibility around the timing of OOPR during specialty training) but they say little about the factors associated with a successful application. Perhaps the authors could comment on how the application process could be streamlined to reduce the number of steps involved and what features of an application are associated with successful approval? This would help to reduce the barriers to prospective applicants and provide them with useful information to help them develop a successful application.

Reference:

1. Osman-Hicks V, Graham H, Leadbetter P, et al. Quality assurance of approved out of programme psychiatry training and research over the past 5 years. BJPsych Bull 2014;39:124–8. doi:10.1192/pb.bp.114.046722
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