Integrated Academic and Clinical training programme in Psychiatry at Severn Postgraduate Medical Education and the University of Bristol

The School of Psychiatry in Severn Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) in partnership with Bristol Medical School at the University of Bristol, offers a high quality integrated academic and clinical training programme for those intending to follow an academic career pathway in psychiatry. There are two entry routes to academic training: 1) at core trainee level as an Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) and 2) at higher trainee (and post-PhD) level, as Academic Clinical Lecturers (CL).

Core academic training

At core training level, Academic Clinical Fellow posts enable trainees to gain their basic clinical training whilst also developing their research competencies and experience. During this three year post, trainees will have a day a week for research and mid-way through their training, six months fulltime for research; this training can also be undertaken on a less than full time basis, with 25% of the overall time for research. Academic staff from the University will supervise academic trainees and it is expected that those wishing to continue their academic career prepare a fellowship application to enable them to undertake a PhD after their core training.

Severn PGME will take the lead in recruitment to ACF posts, with strong support and participation from the University of Bristol.

Higher academic training

At advanced trainee level, those wishing to continue an academic career can be appointed as Academic Clinical Lecturers. NIHR funded Academic Clinical Lecturers will already have a higher degree. ACLs have 50% of their time dedicated to research and teaching whilst also completing their higher training in their specialist area. They will each have an academic supervisor from the University of Bristol. These posts can also be undertaken on a less than full time basis.

The University of Bristol and Severn PGME together arrange and agree the appointment of ACLs; the process is led by the University of Bristol.

Every trainee will have an educational supervisor and clinical supervisor. The supervision arrangements for clinical training will be the same as for non-academic trainees, with weekly supervision with clinical supervisor an initial, mid-point and final meetings with the educational supervisor.

Academic Supervision of ACFs and ACLs

With the help of the academic Training Programme Director (Dr Helen Bould), each trainee will identify a suitable academic supervisor. The best academic supervisor may be a non-clinical academic depending on the research area chosen. The academic supervisor will have an initial meeting with the trainee to agree goals for the trainee to ensure the trainee will meet the expected competencies covering both research and teaching roles. The academic supervisor will meet with the trainee at least fortnightly to help them to develop their research plan and to ensure the trainee is achieving their competencies in academic training. In addition to the initial meeting and regular supervision meetings, the academic supervisor will hold a mid-point review and final review with the trainee.

The academic Training Programme Director will be responsible for an overview of the academic placement and trainee progress. The academic Training Programme Director will meet with the trainee regularly to ensure research plans are developing satisfactorily, to ensure teaching skills are developing, to review supervision arrangements, discuss overall academic career plans and help them prepare for their ARCP. Research competencies will vary depending on the research area chosen by the trainee.

Responsibilities of Academic TPD

To oversee programme and ensure trainees are getting adequate supervision and are achieving the competencies. To assist in preparation for and attend ARCPs.

Responsibilities of Academic Supervisor

To develop a plan with the trainee to meet research and teaching competencies. To meet regularly for supervision to identify and guide specific research project. To complete midpoint and final reviews.

Information on Health Education England South West and the Severn School of Psychiatry

Severn PGME is committed to providing high quality medical training across Avon, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. The Postgraduate Dean is Dr Geoff Smith. The Head of the Severn Graduate School of Psychiatry is Dr Sian Hughes. The Core Training Programme Director is Dr Roz Ward. Psychiatric Training is managed by the Severn School of Psychiatry working in close partnership with the Royal College of Psychiatrists and five NHS Trusts across the Severn PGME area. All the posts within the Severn School of Psychiatry have been approved by the GMC.

The Centre for Academic Mental Health, University of Bristol

The Centre for Academic Mental Health (CAMH) is a hub for vibrant multidisciplinary research in mental health spanning basic and behavioural science, clinical translation, public health and health services research. CAMH has received over £50 million in grant and personal Fellowship funding over the last five years. Lecturers can draw on our world-class infrastructure, including the MRC IEU, NIHR Bristol BRC, NIHR ARC West, NIHR HPRU BSE, NIHR SPHR and SPCR, Bristol CRF and the Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group. The Centre has particular strengths in analysing deeply-phenotyped, large-scale cohort data, mixed methods research, developing and testing novel interventions, and conducting trials. Our senior supervisory team includes international leaders in addiction (Hickman), personality disorder (Moran), immunopsychiatry of depression and schizophrenia, and physical and psychiatric multimorbidity (Khandaker), eating disorders (Bould), neurodevelopmental disorders (Rai), experimental psychology (Munafò), self-harm (Mars, Knipe, Biddle), and depression (Wiles, Kessler). Our research has shaped global health, agricultural and media policy in relation to the prevention of suicide and self-harm.   

Within CAMH, we are currently running ongoing trials for the treatment of psychosis, depression, anxiety in autism, and personality disorders. We have expertise in using mixed-methods approaches to help develop interventions to prevent self-harm, prevent addiction-related deaths and treat eating disorders. Many of our researchers use cohort and routinely collected data including ALSPAC, the Age of Wonder, the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink, and Swedish Registry data.  

The Centre for Academic Mental Health also makes a considerable contribution to the Medical School’s demanding teaching programme.  

The Bristol Medical School

Bristol Medical School is the largest and one of the most diverse Schools in the University of Bristol, with approximately 1100 members of staff, 1350 undergraduate, 350 postgraduate taught and 300 postgraduate doctoral research students.  The Head of School is Professor Chrissie Thirlwell . The Medical School has two departments: Population Health Sciences and Translational Health Sciences. The School is a leading centre for research and teaching across these areas.  Research in the School is collaborative and multi-disciplinary, with staff coming from a wide range of academic disciplines and clinical specialties.  

In addition to hosting Specialist Research Institutes (Bristol Population Health Science Institute and Bristol Heart Institute), major research strengths are reflected in our world-class contributions to two other University-wide research networks (Neuroscience; Cancer and Infection and Immunity).  The Bristol Medical School also boasts specific research strengths including, but not restricted to Paediatrics, Regenerative Medicine, Metabolism, Renal, Pulmonary and Musculoskeletal Medicine. 

The 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) confirmed the University of Bristol’s position as a leading centre for health research.  Bristol Medical School contributed to three Units of Assessment including UoA1 (Clinical Medicine), UoA2 (Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care) and UoA4 (Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience). The UoA2 submission, comprising predominantly Medical School staff, was ranked 3rd in the UK with 94% of our submitted research outputs rated as world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*). Submissions to UoA1 and UoA4 were shared with varying degrees of representation with the Faculty of Life Sciences. Respectively UoA1 and UoA4 had 94% and 84% of submitted research ranked as 4* or 3*, which represented increases in each category in the proportions of 4* ranked papers as well in growth in GPA rankings above the previous REF2014. 

We have built up extensive collaborations throughout the University including those with the pre-clinical biological sciences, the Dental and Veterinary Schools, the School of Policy Studies, and basic scientists across many Schools and Faculties. Furthermore, we have good links with other Universities and with the NHS, which have resulted in successful applications for National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and other funding.  

Within the Medical School are several major research centres, groups and programmes. More details can be found on the Medical School research website. 

The Medical School has responsibility for the undergraduate medical (MBChB) programme.  Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programmes within the School provide training and career development for undergraduate and intercalating medical students, academic clinical trainees, other clinicians, and research staff. There are taught postgraduate programmes in Epidemiology, Healthcare Improvement & Management, Health Economics, Medical Statistics & Health Data Science, Molecular Neuroscience, Orthopaedic Research, Perfusion Science, Public Health, Reproduction and Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration, and Translational Cardiovascular Medicine. There is an active programme of research seminars in term-time. Study programmes at Bristol Medical School.

The School has a strong commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion for both staff and students, and to delivering a positive working environment for all. The School has an active EDI committee and Medical Anti-Racist Taskforce (MART) group and holds a Silver Athena SWAN Award in recognition of the ongoing commitment to gender equality. 

Most of the School’s staff are currently located in Canynge Hall (39 Whatley Road, BS8 2PS), 1-5 Whiteladies Road (BS8 1NU), Dorothy Hodgkin Building (Whitson Street, BS1 3NY), Oakfield House (Oakfield Grove, BS8 2BN), Southmead Hospital (Southmead Road, BS10 5NB) and Level 7 of the Bristol Royal Infirmary (Marlborough Street, BS2 8HW). The main School office and medical programme team are in 5 Tyndall Avenue (1st floor, BS8 1UD). 

The Faculty of Health Sciences

The Faculty of Health Sciences includes four schools, the Medical, Dental and Veterinary Schools which host the three professional healthcare programmes (medicine, veterinary sciences and dentistry) and the School of Anatomy, under a single management structure. These changes will ensure that we optimise and realise the full potential of our teaching and research. The Interim Dean of the Faculty is Professor Sarah George.

Education in Health Sciences

These are dynamic and exciting times for the teaching of professional health programmes in Bristol. In 2017 we introduced a new medical undergraduate curriculum, building on a solid foundation of research-led teaching and practical application in healthcare settings across the South West region. This will give us the opportunity to learn from and incorporate the social, technological and scientific changes that are increasingly influencing the way healthcare services are delivered in the 21st Century.

We also provide a number of intercalated BSc options for our medical students as well as a range of PGT and PGR programmes, including an MRes in partnership with the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences. Bristol Veterinary School has recently launched a new curriculum and currently offers three undergraduate degrees and one taught Masters programme, with postgraduate research opportunities and certificate-level courses also available. All are delivered by academics who publish research regularly and share their cutting-edge research activity through their teaching.

Bristol Dental School provides undergraduates with a strong set of core skills essential for contemporary clinical dental practice. The programme is structured to help students consolidate a solid foundation in

science and engage with clinical practise early on, starting to work with patients in the second year of the programme. Their training is also integrated so they gain experience working in highly integrated, professional dental teams.

With outstanding facilities, such as the e-Learning Suite and the Clinical Skills Laboratory, the route to graduation starts in the University, moves into clinical practice and then for our dental and medical students to dedicated community-based facilities, where students can apply their skills to a wide range of cases from the local community, in preparation for general practice. All UK and international medical, veterinary and dental students can intercalate onto a number of undergraduate courses.

Brilliant work comes from brilliant people, and this is why we are proud of the quality of graduates from our Medical School, Veterinary School and Dental School.

Research in Health Sciences

Our researchers performed exceptionally well in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise, with more than 94% of our submitted research outputs rated as world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) in three of the four medical science categories where we were the main contributors, and 84% were 4* or 3* on the fourth where we had smaller level of representation.

The Times Higher Education has calculated each university's Grade Point Average (GPA) across the four rating categories to compare research quality across 157 UK institutions and saw improvements in ranking on the last REF published in 2014 and saw how Bristol was ranked 3rd in the UK in Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care and in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science. Similarly, the University of Bristol was ranked fifth amongst all Institutions, a rise of six places from 11th when the results of the last REF were published in 2014.

The growth in GPA across all our areas of submission is a great achievement by all our staff, and one that reflects our progress against our ongoing ambition to deliver world-class research that has impact locally, nationally and internationally.

In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) the overall percentage of the submission was as follows:

Clinical Medicine 45% 4*, 49% 3*, 6% 2* and 0% 1*

Public Health, Health Services and

Primary Care 71% 4*, 26% 3*, 3% 2* and 0% 1*

Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience 49% 4*, 35% 3*, 16% 2* and 0% 1*

Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science 49% 4*, 45% 3*, 6% 2* and 0% 1*

Within the Bristol Medical School, main areas of research include public health, epidemiology, health services research, cardiovascular disease, neuroscience and infection and immunity.

In the Bristol Veterinary School, our academics are leaders in their field, whose research helps inform national policies that can lead to developments within veterinary practice. Veterinary research activity is organized through three strategically important groupings: Animal Welfare and Behaviour (AWB), Infection and Immunity (I&I) and Comparative and Clinical Research (C&CR). Translational Research is a major focus of the I&I and C&CR groupings and is directed to using natural disease and experimental intervention in animals to increase understanding of human and animal disease and inform the development of new therapeutic interventions for humans and animals.

In the Bristol Dental School, research focusses around applied clinical and materials sciences (including the clinical trials unit), infection and immunology, and lifecourse epidemiology and population health. Externally funded resources include the Cleft Collective (funded by the Healing Foundation) and the Head and Neck 500 (funded by the NIHR).

The University’s Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research, together with Bristol Health Partners, is a catalyst for cross-Faculty and inter-organisational translational health research, creating an excellent environment for conducting research that can be rapidly tested and applied in clinical settings. Facilities available across the Faculty include two NIHR clinical trials units, CRIC, Wolfson Imaging, Animal imaging/unit at Langford.

The curricula for our teaching programmes are kept under constant review to ensure that they remain relevant and informed by new developments in science, practice and pedagogy. The University Quality Enhancement Team monitors teaching, and Faculty and School Research Directors help develop the Faculty’s exciting research portfolio. The Faculty provides an ideal environment for collaborative research with colleagues in the Faculty of Life Sciences, the wider University, and (increasingly) with our colleagues in the GW4 Collaborative group comprising Cardiff, Exeter and Bath Uni.