There is widespread concern among psychiatrists that the profession is in crisis and that it faces an array of external and internal challenges. Indeed, some observers have questioned whether the psychiatrist is an endangered species. This paper argues that medical specialties can become extinct as the case of the apothecaries exemplifies. The training template for psychiatry in the UK was put in place 40 years ago and there is a need to carefully examine whether it is still fit for purpose. Advances in theoretical knowledge and in basic understanding of psychiatric disorders have not significantly influenced the structure of clinical placements; rather it is service developments and administrative demands that have been the determinants of changes in training. Urgent action is required to address the need for reform of training that will ensure the future of psychiatry as a profession.
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