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Old age psychiatry

Old age psychiatrists (OAP) are doctors who provide specialised and holistic assessment, treatment and continuing care for older adults (or those with similar needs) who suffer from a range of mental health problems including dementia and other disorders including depression and schizophrenia.

Training and qualifications required

Training usually starts with a five year first degree in medicine and two years of foundation training. You will then undertake three years of core training (CT1-3), followed by three years of specialist 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. The working hours may sometimes extend beyond the normal working day to include early mornings, evenings and weekends. On call possible. Pay scales (2017): Consultants earn between £76,761 and £103,490.

Desirable skills and values

You'll need emotional resilience, empathy and compassion with a holistic approach. The ability to empathise and show compassion are vital. Excellent communication and leadership skills are also important along with good problem solving, time management and decision making skills. You'll also need to be able to work effectively as part of a multidisciplinary team.

Prospects

There are 589 consultants in old age psychiatry in England in 2016. Opportunities exist for research and teaching.
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