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Scottish Medical Training

Scotland - the home of medical excellence

Speciality: Forensic Psychiatry

Programme Description
GMC Reference: SES/505

The Scottish Forensic Psychiatry Training Programme prides itself on providing exceptionally high quality training whilst also being friendly, supportive and family-friendly. Our trainees include some of the most capable high achievers from across the UK and our trainers work hard to ensure that everyone on the programme fulfils their potential.

The programme is operated at a national level; however our specialty trainees are appointed to work primarily within one of the four regional hubs (Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth). This allows specialty trainees to settle in a specific area whilst still having easy access to training opportunities across the entire country.

Each of the regional hubs has a Local Programme Lead / Educational Supervisor. On appointment to the programme, specialty trainees will meet with this supervisor and plan their training programme, tailored to their training needs, career goals and personal circumstances.

The training programme lasts three years (whole time equivalent). The majority of placements will be spent in medium and low secure units and forensic community mental health teams within the regional hub. Scotland has excellent access to high secure placements at the State Hospital, Carstairs, where most specialty trainees choose to spend six months of the programme.  In addition specialty trainees have excellent opportunities to develop expertise in prison psychiatry, and have the opportunity to develop essential skills in multiagency working through participating in MAPPA processes and court/police liaison work. A particular strength of the Scottish programme is the ready access to opportunities to develop trainees’ skills as an expert witness. Access to opportunities to prepare reports for courts is exceptional: our specialty trainees will typically prepare approximately 30-40 reports each year which exceeds that generally possible in other areas of the UK.

Our specialty trainees are given opportunities to gain additional experience in areas of particular interest or to cover more niche areas of the Curriculum; this is assisted through one session per week being allocated to trainees as a special interest session. Many specialty trainees have used this time to undertake placements with, for example, the Scottish Government Restricted Patients Team, the Mental Welfare Commission, and specialist/national services. Opportunities to develop psychotherapy skills are available both at a regional and national level. The School of Forensic Mental Health in Scotland provides a range of training courses including in the use of risk assessment tools.

The focus of the Scottish programme is, of course, on learning about forensic psychiatry as it applies in the Scottish context. We are aware that not everyone will remain in Scotland upon completing training. Should they wish, trainees are able to gain experience in other jurisdictions, particularly if they intend to work in other areas of the UK or beyond.

Clinical training is supported by the monthly national forensic psychiatry teaching which takes place normally at Rohallion Clinic, Perth. During the Covid-19 pandemic this is being held virtually using MS Teams (and was one of the first in Scotland to recommence after the pandemic started). This well established programme is run by a small committee of specialty trainees chaired by the trainee representative, supported by the Training Programme Director. The programme attracts a range of speakers from a range of professional backgrounds from across Scotland, the UK and beyond. The teaching programme also provides specialty trainees with opportunities to present cases, research, QI and audit projects to their peers.

If you wish to find out more about training as a forensic psychiatrist in Scotland, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Dr Partha Gangopadhyay, Training Programme Director. You may also find the Forensic Higher Trainee Handbook useful.

Research, audit, teaching and management opportunities

Each specialty trainee is able to spend one session each week engaging in activities to develop and use their research skills in line with the forensic psychiatry curriculum. There are a number of forensic psychiatrists across Scotland with links to the country’s many internationally acclaimed universities who can support specialty trainees  in participating in a range of exciting research projects. Every year a number of our trainees publish journal articles and present posters at academic meetings.

Involvement in quality improvement and audit projects are an essential part of higher training in forensic psychiatry. Excellent opportunities are available across Scotland in this area.

Forensic psychiatry trainees have traditionally taken a central role in participating in and leading a range of teaching activities in Scotland. A wealth of opportunities to develop skills is available across the country in relation to teaching undergraduate and postgraduate doctors and other professionals.

Developing management and leadership skills is an essential aspect of training in forensic psychiatry. Numerous opportunities are available to learn skills through specific training courses (such as the Leadership and Management Programme provided by NHS Education for Scotland). Several forensic psychiatry specialty trainees have held regional, national and UK-wide leadership roles in recent years, such as the Royal College of Psychiatrists UK Forensic Trainee Representative. We have also had a number of trainees who have been successful in gaining the highly prestigious Scottish Clinical Leadership Fellowships.

Where is the training delivered?
Training is delivered across:

Forth Valley Royal Hospital - FVRH, Murray Royal Hospital, Perth, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen, Royal Edinburgh Hospital

This programme involves placements in some or all of these Health Boards and hospitals: 

Forth Valley Royal Hospital - Forth Valley, Murray Royal Hospital- Perth, Royal Cornhill Hospital- Aberdeen, Royal Edinburgh Hospital- Edinburgh, Stratheden Hospital- Fife, State Hospital- Carstairs, Stobhill Hospital- Glasgow, Ayrshire Central Hospital- Irvine 

Regional hubs:

East of Scotland:

Based at Rohallion Clinic, Murray Royal Hospital, Perth. The Educational Supervisor is Dr Michelle McGlen:  

Placements in medium security, low security and community forensic psychiatry are available at Murray Royal Hospital, hosted by NHS Tayside. Prison placements are available in HMP Perth, and at the national open prison facility at HMP Castle Huntly.

North of Scotland:

Based at the Blair Unit, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen. The Educational Supervisor is Dr Daniel Bennett:

Placements in low security and community forensic psychiatry are available at Royal Cornhill Hospital, hosted by NHS Grampian. Prison placements are available at HMP & HMYOI Grampian, Peterhead. Medium secure placements are available at Rohallion Clinic, Murray Royal Hospital, Perth.

South-East Scotland:

Based at the Orchard Clinic, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Edinburgh. The Educational Supervisor is Dr Christopher O'Shea: Chris.O'

Placements in medium security and community forensic psychiatry are available at Royal Edinburgh Hospital, hosted by NHS Lothian. Placements in low security are available at Stratheden Hospital, NHS Fife or at other locations across Scotland. Prison placements are available at HMP Edinburgh and HMP Addiewell.

West of Scotland:

Based at Rowanbank Clinic, Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow. The Educational Supervisor is Dr Brian Gillatt:

Placements in medium security are available at Stobhill Hospital, hosted by NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde. Placements in low security and community forensic psychiatry are available in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, NHS Ayrshire & Arran, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Forth Valley. Prison placements are available at HMP Barlinnie, HMP Kilmarnock, HMP Low Moss, HMP Greenock, HMP Shotts and HMYOI Polmont.

National high secure unit

The State Hospital, Carstairs, Lanark. The Educational Supervisor is Dr Callum MacCall:

Contacts and Useful Links
Programme Type Deanery based or National: National
Administration office South-East of Scotland
Lead Dean / Director Professor Clare McKenzie
Responsible Associate Postgraduate Dean or Assistant Director (GP) Dr Rekha Hegde
Specialty or Sub-specialty Specialty or Sub-specialty: Specialty
Date of GMC recent approval August 2010
Associated Royal College - Faculty
Royal College of Psychiatrists (web site)
Curriculum and Associated Assessment System
Programme Administrator: Named Programme Administrator: Lynda Service
Address: NHS Education for Scotland Forest Grove House Foresterhill Road Aberdeen AB25 2ZP
Tel: 01224 805132
Programme Director Programme Director Name: Partha Gangopadhyay
Address: Ayrshire Central Hospital Irvine KA12 8SS
Tel: 01294 322300
Quality of Training Quality Management

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