To determine the provision of teaching in psychiatry for foundation doctors up to the point of making specialty applications. Data for the cohort of foundation doctors entering training in 2010 were collected from teaching programmes across the Mersey Deanery and North Western Foundation Schools.
In the 17 hospitals that provided data, ‘protected teaching’ totalled 2354 h; 1.8% of time was dedicated to psychiatry, with 4 hospitals providing no teaching on mental health topics. The mean duration of psychiatry teaching was higher in university teaching hospitals (3 h 34 min) than district general hospitals (2 h 57 min); and almost a quarter of teaching sessions were titled only ‘psychiatry’.
For many foundation doctors their only experience of psychiatry will be through teaching sessions, and this is potentially the only time to change opinions and build interest in the specialty. Psychiatrists need to take a more active role in the provision of high-quality teaching for foundation doctors and become the visible role models which are currently lacking.
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