Open Access Research article

A novel method of assessing quality of postgraduate psychiatry training: experiences from a large training programme

Mukhtar Bizrah12, Eduardo Iacoponi3, Elizabeth Parker3, Janice Rymer12, Amy Iversen345* and Simon Wessely34

Author Affiliations

1 Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London, London, UK

2 Division of Medical Education, King’s College London, London, UK

3 South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK

4 Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, London, UK

5 Department of Psychological Medicine, Weston Education Centre, 10 Cutcombe Road, Denmark Hill, London, Post code: SE5 9RJ, UK

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BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:85  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-85

Published: 14 June 2013



Most assessments of the quality of postgraduate training are based on anonymised questionnaires of trainees. We report a comprehensive assessment of the quality of training at a large postgraduate psychiatry training institute using non-anonymised face-to-face interviews with trainees and their trainers.


Two consultant psychiatrists interviewed 99 trainees and 109 trainers. Scoring of interview responses was determined by using a pre-defined criteria. Additional comments were recorded as free text. Interviews covered 13 domains, including: Clinical, teaching, research and management opportunities, clinical environment, clinical supervision, adequacy of job description, absence of bullying and job satisfaction. Multiple interview domain scores were combined, generating a ‘Combined’ score for each post.


The interview response rate was 97% for trainers 88% for trainees. There was a significant correlation between trainee and trainer scores for the same interview domains (Pearson’s r = 0.968, p< 0.001). Overall scores were significantly higher for specialist psychiatry posts as compared to general adult psychiatry posts (Two tailed t-test, p < 0.001, 95% CI: -0.398 to −0.132), and significantly higher for liaison psychiatry as compared to other specialist psychiatry posts (t-test: p = 0.038, 95% CI: -0.3901, -0.0118). Job satisfaction scores of year 1 to year 3 core trainees showed a significant increase with increasing seniority (Linear regression coefficient = 0.273, 95% CI: 0.033 to 0.513, ANOVA p= 0.026).


This in-depth examination of the quality of training on a large psychiatry training programme successfully elicited strengths and weakness of our programme. Such an interview scheme could be easily implemented in smaller schemes and may well provide important information to allow for targeted improvement of training. Additionally, trends in quality of training and job satisfaction amongst various psychiatric specialities were identified; specifically speciality posts and liaison posts in psychiatry were revealed to be the most popular with trainees.

Postgraduate Training; Postgraduate Medical Education; Psychiatry Training; Non-anonymised interviews; Non-anonymised feedback; Training quality; Trainees Feedback; Trainer Feedback