The Training Programme Director for Old Age Psychiatry Training is Dr Tiff Earle.

The Old Age Training Scheme in Psychiatry offers 11 Advanced Trainee National Training Numbers which includes trainees undertaking both single and dual CCTs (in Old Age & General Adult Psychiatry).

Trainees rotate through posts at the beginning of either February or August. Those trainees who who are LTFT are also encouraged to rotate at these times so as to enable all trainees to have an equal opportunity in requesting their choices along with their full-time colleagues. Trainees have considerable choice in their clinical placements which are distributed throughout the Deanery area covering Somerset, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bristol, Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset.  This area is covered by three Trusts – Avon and Wiltshire Partnership, Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust (formerly 2Gether Trust) and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust (formerly Sompar).  Most trainees get their first or second choice post following a preference exercise which is held each year around April and which is managed by Dr Sian Hughes, Training Programme Director for General Adult psychiatry and Dr Earle, in collaboration.

The clinical experience in the Advanced Training Programme in Old Age psychiatry will consist of the equivalent of three years full time experience of which two years must be spent in designated Old Age Psychiatry.  The three years will be made up as follows:

  1. Twelve months in an old age placement i.e. a placement that can offer both inpatient and community experience,  or two six-month placements in inpatient and community settings.  The inpatient experience must include managing detained patients under supervision.
  2. Twelve months in another old age psychiatry setting
  3. A third twelve months may be spent in general psychiatry (or one of its subspecialties) or in any other psychiatric specialty where the training is available e.g. forensic psychiatry, old age psychiatry, medical psychotherapy, learning disability psychiatry or other endorsable posts such as Liaison Psychiatry.

The trainee will be expected to rotate between their choices of posts during their training and gain a balance of community and inpatient experience.

Trainees undertaking dual Old Age and General Adult Psychiatry will spend 2 years in each specialty comprising 24 months in Old Age Psychiatry (points 1 and 2 above), one year in a Core General Adult post and one year in an additional General Adult post (which may include endorsable posts in rehabilitation psychiatry, substance misuse psychiatry or liaison psychiatry).

The aim is for the trainee to gain high quality experience in the area of clinical practice which will enable them to function as a high quality consultant within the NHS.  As a general principle, skills acquired in higher training will be at a higher standard than those required for core training.

All trainees at the time of completion of specialist training should be capable of functioning as autonomous medical specialists with an ability to sustain independent action and decision-making and maintain the quality of clinical work and record keeping, including physical and psychiatric examination, collection of data from corroborative sources, diagnostic assessment and treatment planning.

Clinical objectives should include acquiring the experience necessary to:

  • Function as a consultant member of the multidisciplinary Mental Health Team
  • Clinical skills necessary to assess, manage and monitor the progress of patients, including Risk Management
  • Liaison with other agencies involved in the care of patients, including primary care, other secondary care providers, Social Services, voluntary agencies,  and the private sector and user groups
  • Understand and implement the Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Act in accordance with their Codes of Practice.

As well as consolidating your core knowledge and skills, you will get experience in:

  • The knowledge of the special features of psychiatric disorders presenting in old age
  • Knowledge of the impact of increasing age on the effects of treatment in the elderly, both physical and psychological
  • Knowledge of the specialist range of support services available for the elderly mentally ill
  • Knowledge of the relevant legal issues for the elderly and in particular the Court of Protection and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards 
  • Knowledge of geriatric medicine, neurology, neuroimaging and sensory disorders as necessary for the practice of old age psychiatry

There is particular emphasis on multidisciplinary working and a global approach to management – spanning psychological, medical and social issues.

As well as specialty specific training opportunities, there is an expectation that advanced trainees will engage in an extensive range of leadership development, teaching and research opportunities provided within the individual Trusts, the School of Psychiatry and the allied Universities. Trainees are expected to make the most of these opportunities.