To review the experience, examination success and career progress of trainees on the flexible scheme in psychiatry in the North and South Thames region. Trainees in psychiatry who enrolled on the flexible training scheme 1993–1997 were Included In the retrospective survey of flexible training records.
Trainees on the flexible training scheme had gained experience in a broad range of posts before entering psychiatry for a mean time of 14 months. Forty-nine per cent entered flexible training during basic specialist training and 41% during higher specialist training. This cohort of trainees performed better in the MRCPsych examinations than the national average. Forty-nine per cent of the trainees intended to become child and adolescent psychiatrists. Flexible trainees' progress to consultant status was slower.
The flexible training scheme attracts trainees of comparable quality to full-time trainees and encourages their retention in the workforce.
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