The question has been posed—is an examination necessary to admit to the membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists? The College represents the views of psychiatrists, maintains the standards of the profession, regulates and monitors practise and accepts a broad overall responsibility for education. It should admit to its membership those who practice as psychiatrists. Who then are the psychiatrists? Should the membership be open to anyone who makes such a claim or should it be linked with appointment to specific jobs as a psychiatrist at a level yet to be determined? What of private practitioners, interested GPs? Surely anyone who wants to be a psychiatrist, to paraphrase Sam Goldwyn, ought to have his head examined by his peers to establish that his claim to be a psychiatrist is acceptable. It is the College which should regulate entry into the profession of psychiatry, not the National Health Service, an employing authority, or even the universities. Some membership entrance conditions are needed which lay down minimum requirements for becoming a psychiatrist and it is important to exclude or reject, in my view, before higher psychiatric training commences.
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