It is an expectation of the Royal College of Psychiatrists that its members should demonstrate a knowledge of the psychiatry of childhood and adolescence. Prospective members are examined on this and a clinical placement in child and adolescent psychiatry is a recognised specialty component of general training. That this is so reflects the fact that one quarter of the population is composed of individuals under the age of 18. This group has an appreciable psychological morbidity rate with patterns of psychological disability and suffering which differ appreciably from those encountered in general adult practice. A competent general psychiatrist should be familiar with the pattern of psychiatric pathology is childhood and be conversant with the services available for its treatment. For the health of the psychiatric profession as a whole, it is important that trainees have some working experience of child and adolescent psychiatry so that they may find whether this area of practice is attractive to them. Experience at registrar level provides an important recruitment opportunity for future senior registrars and thus consultants in child and adolescent psychiatry. Successful completion of general training in psychiatry with possession of membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists is effectively a universal prerequisite for entering the senior registrar grade and higher training in child and adolescent psychiatry.
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