Overview of the Forensic Psychiatry Training Scheme

Introduction to Forensic Psychiatry

Forensic psychiatry is an interesting and multifaceted specialty that sits at the interface between psychiatry and the law. It involves the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of mentally disordered offenders who pose a high risk to others.

The core skills of the forensic psychiatrist include the ability to manage high levels of complexity and risk, to work closely both with the multidisciplinary team but also with external agencies such as the Ministry of Justice, MAPPA, probation, the prison service and victim liaison agencies. It requires an ability to produce thorough and details reports for medico-legal purposes to aid the Courts in managing these complex individuals.

It is a rewarding and fascinating career with opportunities to work across a range of services and environments.

The Severn Forensic Training Scheme

The training scheme in Severn gives our trainees the opportunity to work in a number of different services on one consistent site at Blackberry Hill Hospital in Bristol.  Trainees will have the opportunity to experience male acute and rehabilitation in medium security, female medium security, male low security and speciality services for individuals with Learning Disability and or Autism Spectrum Disorder, specialist services working with high risk individuals with personality disorder (the Pathfinder Team) and there are opportunities to work with a newly developed specialist community forensic team. 

Within the Deanery, there are four prisons, all accessible from Bristol, including Category B, C and D male provision, and female provision at HMP Eastwood Park.

Training programmes can be highly individualised to reflect trainee’s personal interests. 

In addition to the core clinical educational experiences available, there are a range of special interest opportunities including working with drug and alcohol services, ADHD services, Autism Services, early intervention teams and many others.

Unlike some other deaneries, all higher trainees in Severn are supported to take two specialist interest days per weeks, one clinical and one non-clinical, to allow them to develop a highly individual timetable that develops them towards their overall career goals.

The programme allows for attendance at a full range of educational and supervision opportunities.  This includes the routine weekly supervision with the educational supervisor, reflective practice, peer group supervision, structured training days and the local forensic academic programme.

There are a range of teaching opportunities available including larger presentations, small group teaching, medical student teaching and mentoring, multidisciplinary teaching and there are also opportunities to work with the local Police, Probation and Prison services in implementing and delivering teaching and training packages.

There is the opportunity to gain experience in management and leadership by working with the educational supervisor, getting involved in local management projects, and shadowing the Clinical Director.

The timetable below is an example of a possible week.  There is flexibility as to when prison sessions, special interest sessions and research sessions are taken.

There is also the opportunity to engage in a variety of research opportunities within Fromeside.

Example of Timetable

Research Interest examples: Forensic Services for Women, Old Age Mentally Disordered Offenders, Interface between Prison and Mental Health Services, Management of Complex Schizophrenia.





Inpatient clinical work

Weekly: 1 hour of supervision

Special interest, local prison


Team business, ward round

CPA reviews



Research / special interest

Audit, management, leadership project

Monthly: 13:00 -14:00 Psychotherapy supervision.


Research / special interest

Research / special interest


Secure services referral meeting. 

Forensic medical educational programme / peer supervision group.

Business meeting

Research Session

Oncall commitment 1 in 15 with covering Consultant Psychiatrist covering forensic services only.

For any questions, please contact the current TPD, Dr Elizabeth O’Mahony.