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The fastest growing specialty in the NHS

As the medical specialty dealing with the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness as well as emotional and behavioural disorders - it is the fastest growing specialty in the NHS offering competitive salaries, career progression, specialty training and CCT & CESR.

Requirements for an overseas psychiatrist to work in the UK

  • IELTS or OET 
  • MRCPsych (UK) or PLAB
  • GMC registration
  • EEA applicants will only require GMC registration and IELTS or OET 

IMG Library Find out more on IELTS or OET, GMC Registration, PLAB, MRCPsych or to understand the Route to the UK for an Overseas Psychiatrist.

What should I know about Psychiatry in the UK?  

NHS psychiatrists may see in-patients in a hospital setting, or work within the community. Psychiatrists work across a range of services, such as specialist hospital units, schools, residential care homes, or a combination of settings. However, most work in community mental health teams, out-patient departments and hospital wards. 

There are six psychiatry specialties: adult psychiatry, psychiatry of old age, child and adolescent psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, psychiatry of intellectual disability, and psychotherapy. It is possible to sub-specialise in adult psychiatry - in liaison, perinatal, substance misuse or addictions, neuro-psychiatry, eating disorders, rehabilitation and social psychiatry.

What can you expect to do as part of a typical working week in the NHS?

Psychiatrists in the UK often follow a regular Monday-Friday daytime pattern. On call work, especially at associate specialist or consultant level, is generally less onerous than other medical and surgical specialties. The regular work pattern enables an excellent work-life balance. 

Hospital work can include ward rounds for acute or long-term patients as well as outpatient clinics. New patients may have appointments lasting an hour, considerably longer than appointments given in other medical specialties. Follow-up appointments may last around 20 or 30 minutes.

Most consultant psychiatrists have around ten hours allocated each week for non-clinical activities including research and audit. 

Psychiatrists sometimes see patients on their own in an out-patient clinic. More often, they work as part of a team with colleagues from other professions such as nursing, social work, psychology and occupational therapy.

Did you know? The Mental Health Act (1983) is the main piece of legislation that covers the assessment, treatment and rights of people with a mental health disorder in the UK.


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