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Career Intentions in Psychiatric Trainees and Consultants (CIPTAC)


At the present time throughout the UK there is a sizeable number of vacant posts for consultant Psychiatrists (approximately 12% according to the most recent RCPsych annual census). This shortage varies widely across the UK and by psychiatric specialty. The shortfall is partly the result of UK medical schools training too few doctors generally - a situation soon to improve, though the impact of an increase in the number of medical school places will take 12-15 years to be manifest in new applicants to consultant posts. Another major determinant of the consultant shortfall is the significant proportion of SHOs in psychiatry who do not progress to higher psychiatric training or to consultant grade posts. This 'attrition' may be as high as 35-50%.

However, it is not known why doctors who embark upon postgraduate psychiatric training leave prior to taking up a consultant post, nor is it clear at what stage of their training do trainee psychiatrists leave the specialty. Of equal interest, it is not known what factors positively influence trainee psychiatrists to complete their training and become consultants. Moreover, it is not clear whether or not there are regional variations in trainee attrition, and whether this is related to local training schemes. Knowing the answers to these questions is clearly a prerequisite to identifying the measures necessary to improve 'retention' of trainees and to decrease the proportion of vacant consultant posts.

The Project

This project gathered accurate and meaningful data on the level of 'attrition' at each stage of psychiatric training, nationally, regionally and locally, and has further investigated why trainees leave at each stage. In addition, we have identified 'positive' factors during postgraduate training that appear to encourage trainees to persist to consultant level. The project also examined the factors that affect consultant attrition before the age of 65.

Click here to download the CIPTAC final report

Click here to download a copy of the Psychiatrists'career development after flexible training final report


CIPTAC is co-ordinated by a project team based at the College Research Unit:
Dr. Tim Kendall (Deputy Director, CRU), Professor Cornelius Katona (Dean, RCPsych), Ms. Carole Pashley (Deputy Head of Postgraduate Education, RCPsych), Dr. Sally Pidd (Deputy Registrar, RCPsych) and Dr. Alex Mears (Research Fellow, CRU).

For individual enquiries, please contact:
Dr Alex Mears, Research Fellow on Tel: 020 7227 0835, Fax: 020 7227 0850