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Forensic psychiatry

Forensic psychiatry is a specialised branch of psychiatry which deals with the assessment and treatment of mentally disordered offenders in prisons, secure hospitals and the community. It requires sophisticated understanding of the interface between mental health and the law.

Training and qualifications required

You’ll need to follow a set pattern of training which usually starts with a five year first degree in medicine and two years of foundation training, 3 years core training (CT1-3), followed by 3 years specialists training (ST4-6). This period of training will include completing your royal college exams. Length of training can vary according to your circumstances.

Expected working hours and salary range

Working hours should not exceed 48 hours a week. The working hours may sometimes extend beyond the normal working week to include early mornings, evenings and weekends. On call likely. Pay scales (2017): Consultants earn between £76,761 and £103,490.

Desirable skills and values

You'll need empathy, compassion, emotional resilience and initiative to work in challenging situations. The ability to monitor developing situations and anticipate issues is important. You'll also need to be flexible with an analytical and scientific approach. You'll also need excellent communication, leadership and problem solving skills with the ability to work well in a team. Also important are a high level of motivation, good organisational skills and an in-depth knowledge of relevant mental health and criminal law.

Prospects

There are 312 consultants in forensic psychiatry in England in 2016. Opportunities exist for research and teaching.
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