A leading article in the British Medical Journal (Miller, 1992) comprehensively criticised the Joint Planning Advisory Committee (JPAC) for failing to implement the changes in manning levels needed for Achieving a Balance. This leader came as no surprise to psychiatric trainees, and nor did it offer much comfort. The ‘bottleneck’ between registrar and senior registrar has become a ‘log-jam’ and although prospects for trainee psychiatrists are not as bleak as for the unfortunate would-be thoracic physicians cited in the leader, they are bad enough. For example, when a single SR post in adult psychiatry was recently advertised for the NW Thames region, there were over 60 enquiries, 45 of which transformed into definite applications, even though the post offered was in a less than popular sub-speciality. Local selection committee members for NW Thames in other psychiatric specialities have also been surprised by the number of applicants. JPAC may not be entirely to blame: the economic recession may be a disincentive for consultants wishing to retire early, thus slowing-up career progression throughout the profession.
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