Learning Disability Psychiatry

Psychiatry of Learning Disability (also called Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability) is a rewarding, fascinating and challenging psychiatric speciality.  Our trainees learn to assess and treat complex mental and behaviour disorders in people with a learning disability.

It is a speciality which truly draws together the biological, psychological and social factors which underpin mental illness. We work with patients, families, carers and the wider community to deliver holistic and personalised care.

During training you will develop specialist expertise in neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism and ADHD. We work closely with colleagues in mainstream mental health services, CAMHS and when required forensics - to ensure our patients receive the best possible care.

Here are links to two short films by higher trainees from our scheme – which describes why they enjoy working within ID Psychiatry.

Training in Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability begins with recruitment to the training programme, after successful completion of Core Psychiatric Training and the MRCPsych examinations. 

It is recommended that training in Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability is undertaken over a recommended 36 months whole time equivalent (WTE) in order to achieve the required capabilities and gain the necessary experience to practice as a Consultant Psychiatrist in Intellectual Disability. Successful completion of the training programme leads to entry on to the Specialist Register.

By the end of ST6 trainees in Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability will have developed the necessary capabilities to gain a CCT in this specialty registerable with the GMC, and will be ready to practice as a Consultant Psychiatrist in Learning (Intellectual) Disability. 

 

Geography of the Scheme:

There are currently three training rotations for Learning Disability Psychiatry Training in London, North London South East London and South West London.  

We enclose links for further information which provides additional information on each of the training rotations including the list of jobs, employing trusts and the clinical supervisors.

 

North and South West London Prospectus (see attached documents below)

South East London:

http://www.maudsleytraining.com/LearningDisabilities.htm

 

Special Interest Opportunities:

All higher trainees have one day per week to undertake educationally agreed special interest opportunities. There is a wide variety of activities which can be undertaken within this time. This includes gaining additional clinical experience in specialist areas, for example within forensic services, CAMHS ID Team, clinical genetics or neurology teams. Non-clinical opportunities include completing a medical education qualification, undertaking a medical leadership project, applying to work in parliament or undertaking a research project.

The list of available opportunities is updated regularly and can be obtained from your TPD or local medical education team.

 

Research Opportunities

We encourage all of our trainees to gain experience in research during their higher training. The schemes have close links with ID academic clinicians across London including Kings College London and UCL.

We encourage all trainees with an interest in academic training to apply for academic clinical fellowships and to follow an academic career pathway where they hold this interest.

 

Out of Programme Training Opportunities:

Trainees are able to apply to take time out of training (as per the guidance included within the gold guide( https://www.copmed.org.uk/gold-guide-8th-edition/.) For example, to gain additional experience within management, leadership or for additional research time. We encourage trainees to apply for leadership fellow programmes as and when these opportunities arise.

In recent years trainees have completed OOPEs with National Medical Director Clinical Fellows Scheme and as Darzi fellows. Some feedback from one of our current trainees is included below:

“My out of programme experience is a Darzi Fellowship in Clinical Leadership. This is being led by London South Bank University and my project is looking at forensic services for autistic patients in the South London Partnership. The fellowship is a unique opportunity to develop leadership skills and I am learning about the theory behind concepts of quality, innovating systems and leading change; while using my project to establish these skills.”

Dr David Prior, ST5

 

RCPsych ID Faculty

The faculty is “here to help members improve their knowledge of psychiatry of intellectual disability. They also develop policy to promote the wellbeing of people with intellectual disabilities.”

Here is the link to the Royal College of Psychiatrists Faculty of Intellectual Disability:

https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/members/your-faculties/intellectual-disability-psychiatry

 

Curriculum Link:

https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/training/curricula-and-guidance/curricula-review-project/curricula-implementation/draft-higher-specialty-curricula-2022

 

Training Programme Director Contacts:

 

Trainee Feedback:

“A career in psychiatry of intellectual disability is like no other. As well as being fascinating, rewarding and stimulating, you become an advocate for the most vulnerable in society. Every day is a chance to make a real difference. I chose to do my specialty training in North London where I have met the most inspiring patients and staff. There are numerous training opportunities and I was supported to complete an MSc in Mental Health Sciences Research alongside my clinical role. I have also been able to take time Out of Programme in Medical Education which has led me to becoming involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. This has enabled me to grow as a doctor, academic and leader. I highly recommend this scheme to anyone interested in clinical or academic psychiatry of intellectual disability.”

 

Dr Sonya Rudra ST6

“As a higher trainee within the North London Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability scheme, it has been a genuine pleasure to be able to work within this dynamic subspeciality. I had initially completed a 6-month core training post in an inpatient intellectual disability unit and was astounded by the care and dedication displayed by the clinical team towards their patients. This positive placement provided me with the stepping stone to venture further into this rewarding and fulfilling job. Other various roles available to trainees involve community services, forensics, liaison and there is even something for those who have an interest in politics! 

 I have been involved in many opportunities which include organising annual trainee conferences, being a local trainee representative, presenting quality improvement projects at international conferences, delivering structured teaching to peers & medical students and research.  

The nature of the clinical work attracts those who are people-centred, interested in the difficulties faced by the patient and challenges involving wider societal issues as well. The consultants and tutors provide a lot of encouragement and a wealth of insight. The level of clinical and educational support received is highly valuable and is tailored to each trainees’ career development.  

There certainly is a good work-life balance and there is encouragement for trainees to take time out to pursue other interests. I have felt valued as a trainee and an individual throughout each phase of my training. This in turn continually drives me to aspire delivering the highest standard quality of care and dedication in all that I do.”

 

Dr Mervyn Yong, ST5 trainee 

“ID Psychiatry offers a wide variety of opportunities that makes it especially interesting as a career. The clinical component entails working with a range of conditions and individuals, from straight-forward to incredibly complex cases. I feel that I can practice proactive medicine and get to know my patients really well. I work as part of highly specialised multidisciplinary teams, offering tailored interventions, utilising the biopsychosocial model of care. The non-clinical opportunities are also vast and I have been encouraged every step of the way to explore these including the Out of Programme Experience I am currently on, as a Darzi Fellowship in Clinical Leadership. This is a unique opportunity to formally develop leadership skills which will stand me in good stead throughout the rest of my career.”

Dr David Prior, ST5