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Changing role of the junior psychiatrist – implications for training

  • Louise Cooke (a1) and Louisa James (a2)
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Abstract
Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Changing role of the junior psychiatrist – implications for training

  • Louise Cooke (a1) and Louisa James (a2)
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eLetters

How useful is routine phlebotomy anyway?

Liz Tate, Psychiatry SHO
05 October 2006

All junior doctors are concerned about their future role in the changing environment of the modern NHS. As with many other specialities, psychiatry has seen significant changes in recent years including the creation of specialist nurse practitioners and crisis and home treatment teams. Much of this is about restructuring the way psychiatric services are provided supposedly in the best interests of patients. Some of it is inevitably in response to the constraints on doctors hours as a result of the EWTD.

With increasing amounts of routine psychiatric practice being carried out by non-medical professionals it has inevitably led psychiatry traineesto question their future and training.

However not all these changes are necessarily negative. Much of our role remains largely unchanged and still includes assessing and admitting patients at all hours of the day and night, performing physical examinations, reviewing patients' mental states on the ward and in clinic and prescribing from an ever-expanding formulary. Those fortunate enough to be absolved of routine phlebotomy duties welcome the additional time tospend with patients or learn about actual psychiatry.

Although liason assessments are increasingly performed by specialist nurses or allied health professionals, high risk or complicated cases still require medical input. Those doctors who subscribe to the quality vsquantity theory of training see this change as a benefit.

Psychiatry is truly a multidisciplinary speciality of which doctors are only one part, but the role of the psychiatrist will always involve assessment, diagnosis and management. Trainees can learn to do this well without having to perform routine phlebotomy or spend all their time assessing overdoses in the emergency department.
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Conflict of interest: None Declared

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