Psychiatry training

We hope that you find the below information useful when considering psychiatry as a specialty and Cornwall as a place to work. Feel free to contact any of the people mentioned below should you have any questions, or wish to discuss anything further. If you are interested in a post with the Trust, at any level from Trust doctor to consultant, contact the medical director, or medical staffing department who will talk through any options that we may have currently.


Introduction to psychiatry training from Dr Adrian Flynn

"We produced this video with some sixth form students from Truro College to highlight the quality of training and experience that people can gain from coming to the Cornwall scheme. Please take a look at the video. I hope it emphasises the qualities of the scheme here in Cornwall. We have highly satisfied trainees who in 2015 were the most satisfied psychiatric trainees in the country. We have excellent results in Royal College exams with our pass rate over the last 4 years exceeding 85% and we are a friendly, welcoming and personable Trust. We value trainees and will give you a rich and personal training experience.

" Please get in touch with us if you would like any more information about the scheme."

Testimonials from trainees

"I am a second year core trainee in psychiatry. I was a GP partner in Cornwall for 12 years, but my interest in the speciality grew over the years as I came to recognise how much emotional pain and unconscious factors contribute to suffering. I am interested in talking treatments and liaison psychiatry, especially medically unexplained symptoms. Cornwall has been a great place to train. I have had the opportunity to work on a research project and there is plenty of time for teaching and supervision. The Cornish trainees have a good pass rate in exams which I do not think is a coincidence. I have no regrets changing speciality and was lucky to end up on such a good scheme."

Dr Alje Van Hoorn, ST5 ACF in psychiatry

"I'm Karen, one of the CT3s working in Cornwall. I came into medicine later in life, having previously worked as a research fellow in astrophysics. Once I started working as a doctor, I started thinking about a career in psychiatry, and haven't looked back since. Cornwall's a great place to train. It's very friendly and they have been really supportive in allowing me time to pursue specific interests. As a result I've been able to carry on doing some research - now in psychiatry not Astrophysics! And also additional work, over and above the normal week, with the personality disorders service doing DBT therapy and with the forensics team. During the 3 years I've had lots of varied additional opportunities including being able to observe equine assisted therapy (horses that help recovering drug addicts!), go to magistrates and crown court, visit patients in Broadmoor and in prison, and work with the police, to name just a few."

Dr Karen Cocksedge, ST6 in psychiatry

"I am a third year core psychiatry trainee and moved to Cornwall after completing CT1 in Aberdeen. I moved to Falmouth after deciding to take time out of training to complete an MA in professional writing at Falmouth University. The plan was to return to Aberdeen to complete core training however I fell in love with Cornwall and applied to complete my training here and I haven’t looked back."

"It has been a great Trust to work for with an extremely organised medical staffing department and brilliant support from the close-knit team of consultants working with outpatients and in-patients and plenty of opportunity balance patient care with pursuing our own interests within psychiatry. My favourite part of training is the fortnightly Balint groups where we have the chance to explore the psychodynamic aspects of the patient-doctor relationship and use our imaginations to explore what it must be like to be that patient and why they evoke certain reactions in us or stay on our minds. Psychiatry is a fascinating specialty and it is a privilege to work with such depth in the most intimate aspects of people’s lives. Moving to Cornwall and resuming my psychiatry training here remains one of the best life decisions I’ve ever made!"

Dr Penny Shutt, specialty doctor, child and adolescent psychiatry

Testimonials from consultants and medical director

"I have worked for over 7 years now as a Cornwall consultant in old age psychiatry having done half of my junior training and all my senior psychiatric training based here. Prior to that I had useful contrasting experience working as a junior psychiatrist in south London. The local training scheme in Cornwall for me was comprehensive, well supported and with a low turnover of permanent staff the continuity was excellent. It was given great support enabling me to pass all my exams first time and now many of my training peers and trainers are valued long term colleagues. For me, the combination of a stable workforce with effective working relations and the opportunity to work, live and bring up a family in such a beautiful part of the country would be hard to beat. We are proud of our medical and supporting admin team in Cornwall, who take an active role in helping to keep the Trust focussed on clinical priorities, participate in research projects and prioritise medical education highly, for our medical students, doctors, and in multidisciplinary settings. Many of us have spent time on the local BBC radio on an award-winning public mental health phone-in programme and we are well supported to access allocated study leave. I couldn’t really expect to work with better colleagues anywhere else and I would not hesitate to recommend Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as a place to train and work. The fact that I have been treated to a stunning view of Mounts Bay from our team base in Penzance and am able to smell the sea air from my clinic is an added bonus and a welcomed tonic for the more challenging days!"

Dr Henry Cameron, consultant psychiatrist

"I trained in Cornwall for 3 years between 2007 and 2010. I had access to a wide range of training opportunities and excellent supervision. It allowed me to gain endorsements in liaison psychiatry and addictions psychiatry. My experience training meant that I wanted to work in Cornwall as a consultant. The Trust is a size that allows staff to feel that they know their colleagues and there is more of a family atmosphere than at other trusts I have worked at or visited, whilst also having access to regular and high quality CPD and other training opportunities. All of this against a backdrop of a long beautiful coastline, a tonic for any busy NHS employee."

Dr Damian Clifford, locum consultant psychiatrist

"Training the next generation of doctors, whether offering psychiatry as part of the bedrock of core medical knowledge or creating the consultants of the future, is an important role for the Trust. Our trainees are welcomed and valued and strengthen our patient care by delivering safe assessment and treatment, also by improving care through their interests in clinical audit, teaching and training and leadership."

Dr Ellen Wilkinson, medical director and consultant psychiatrist

Testimonials from colleagues

"It is evident that every rotation of junior doctor receives a thorough induction. They attend their first day at Longreach House understanding the importance of specific processes and procedures within acute wards.

All the doctors which the admin team have had contact with are extremely friendly, calm and confident which leads me to believe that they would provide a good bedside manner."

Lucy Baguley, inpatient administrator

GMC survey results

In 2015, Peninsula Post-Graduate Medical Education (PPME) ranked as the second highest nationally for overall satisfaction with training. The core psychiatry training programme also ranked second in the country for overall satisfaction. Within the deanery, it is of particular note that the overall trainee satisfaction with training for the Trust was the highest for all trusts in the Peninsula.

Graph showing overall satisfaction trends 2012 to 2015

When compared with all other mental health trusts in the country for overall satisfaction with training, the Trust was ranked first with a score of 88%.

A board report following the positive GMC survey results listed the Trusts strengths in training doctors as:

  • strong induction programme; we have embraced regional e-induction
  • a comprehensive handbook to the scheme is provided
  • induction feedback meeting to ensure it meets requirements
  • local teaching programme and grand round and CPD with positive feedback
  • break out group with specialist training for non-psychiatric doctors
  • super-condensed GP curriculum to assess gaps in the programme
  • bi-annual CASC practical to prepare trainees for their final examination
  • trainee-led CPD; a novel innovation to develop presentation skill
  • revised appraisal guidance and proactive approach to portfolio assessment
  • up-to-date educational and clinical supervisors
  • personable, approachable medical staffing department
  • engaged medical director and chief executive officer
  • input into foundation health programme; helping young doctors to manage pressure
  • a friendly and informal overall tone
  • 7 current local consultants graduated from this core training scheme
  • high output of audits, presentations and publications
  • examination pass rates of more than 80%
  • F1 developments

Foundation taster weeks

The Trust has recently developed a new improved taster week timetable. There are 3 different weeks to choose from (view our sample taster week timetable), but we can be flexible in swapping sessions where possible. Please contact us if you are interested in a psychiatry taster week. Our senior and junior doctors are enthusiastic to provide foundation trainees with the best taster week possible.

Feedback received to date has been positive: “I really enjoyed the taster week. All of the psychiatrists I worked with were extremely keen and pro-active about teaching or getting me involved”

Work experience weeks for school age students

In 2015 the Trust piloted a work experience scheme aimed specifically at those who are considering a career in mental health, including clinical psychology, medicine and psychiatry. Feedback received was extremely positive, examples of some comments below:

What have you found most useful from your week?

  • Speaking to the junior doctors was really helpful; it was also useful to hear from the service users and their experiences.
  • Talking to service users as it puts your interest into perspective and makes the psychology more real.
  • Speaking to people from each job role because it gave a good insight into the different options available.
  • I now have a greater understanding of what is involved in psychiatry or psychology and what path to take to get there.

What have you enjoyed the most from your work experience?

  • The patient experience session. It was interesting meeting previous users of the hospital and hearing about their illness.
  • It was all incredible, but personally the most enjoyable part was meeting the junior doctors because they allowed us to join in with their discussions and their experiences. They put in a lot of effort which made the experience very worthwhile.
  • The basic life support was fun as it was practical for us to take part.
  • Everyone was very friendly.
  • This week was so good and has helped me a lot to clarify what I want to do. I would definitely recommend it.

Anyone wishing to apply to the work experience scheme can do so by contacting either of the below departments for an application form or advice:

  • workforce development, call 01208 834 650
  • medical staffing department contact for work experience, email Kathryn Pengelly or call 01208 834 273

Important contacts at the Trust who are available to talk to:

Useful links