Trainees in LSCFT participate on the HEE (NW) MRCPsych course which is a 2-year NHS run course which aims to bring ‘Theory to Practice’, and to reconnect the training strands of the weekly local teaching programmes (like the one in Lancashire), the regional academic days, psychotherapy training and supervision from the trainee’s supervisor. There is an explicit link to the MRCPsych syllabus and examinations. The MRCPsych course achieves consistency and parity across a large geographical area to ensure that all trainees receive the same standard of training regardless of their clinical placement, with more of this training being delivered in the workplace by NHS Consultants. Ultimately, trainees are better prepared for the MRCPsych examinations and clinical practice.
The programme is split into 4 semesters over the 2-year period. In LSCFT we offer 4 hours teaching per week – this is called the Local Academic Programme and is mentioned elsewhere in these webpages. Each Trust delivers the same content over a period of six months so. We also support Core Trainee to attend the Regional Academic Programme (RAP), which is delivered centrally by the School of Psychiatry. The regional programme has further MRCPsych-related topics, including physical health and critical appraisal.
A number of LSCFT Consultants and Supervisors have strong links to the programme, in a leadership capacity or have taught for many years on the course.
‘The environment is very supportive and we are encouraged to think and learn about the cases which are presented at the teaching’ (CT Doctor, 2018)
Specific CASC Development
To support our core trainees with their preparations for the CASC exam, we run two mock sessions, one in July and another in December. The sessions operate under exam conditions, using CASC examiners where possible, and experienced simulated patients. These sessions are FREE for the candidates. The session is a full afternoon consisting focussed exam stations and trainees receive comprehensive feedback about their performance after each station from the actors as well as the examiners. Assessment is based upon the criteria which will be used in the exam, so participants receive a good benchmark of their level of preparedness for the exam, and guidance for areas that need improvement.
Higher trainees are encouraged to take the lead in the preparation and running of the mock for their own development. They also participate as observers at the stations, which gives them an insight into the role of the examiner, and they provide additional feedback and support for their junior colleagues
We are also looking to introduce ‘CASC Development Sessions’ In LSCFT, in which we are aiming to teach the clinical and communication skills needed to pass the CASC examination and to offer mentoring and coaching at a group and individual level. We also plan to link up with colleagues in India for some joint working on this project and to focus on the issues of differential attainment.