Skill in physical medicine is an often neglected area in psychiatric training. It is nonetheless very important, particularly in the care of the elderly. The need for reciprocal training in geriatric medicine and old age psychiatry was highlighted in Care of Elderly People with Mental Illness (1989), the Joint Report of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Psychiatrists on services for the elderly and medical training. It recommends that, “Higher professional training for specialisation in the psychiatry of old age should include at least two months experience in geriatric medicine”, and suggests that this previously optional experience should become an obligatory part of specialist training. It indicates the alternative ways of gaining such experience: a short secondment, a weekly sessional commitment or a direct exchange of posts.
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