We report an audit of the provision of psychiatric postgraduate education within the foundation programme and psychiatry specialty programmes in the UK. Our primary measure was the number of foundation posts in psychiatry. Our audit standard was that all foundation doctors should receive programmed training in psychiatry via a psychiatry foundation post.
We found a total of 413 foundation posts in psychiatry in 21 out of 22 foundation schools in England. This figure is only a fifth of that required to meet the audit standard. There is training capacity for 500 core trainees and 460 higher trainees in psychiatry per year. Currently, 13.6% of specialists other than general practitioners on the General Medical Council registers are psychiatrists.
The provision of programmed postgraduate training in psychiatry in UK foundation schools is inadequate. The training needs of all doctors, the mental healthcare needs of all patients, and recruitment to psychiatry are all likely to suffer as a consequence.
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