International Psychogeriatrics

Research Article

A survey of geriatric psychiatry training across Europe

Sandeep Toota1 c1, Martin Orrella2, Joanna Rymaszewskaa3 and Ralf Ihla4

a1 Research and Development Department, North East London NHS Foundation Trust, Goodmayes Hospital, Goodmayes, Essex, UK

a2 Department of Mental Health Sciences, University College London, London, UK

a3 Wroclaw Medical University, Wrocław, Poland

a4 University of Düsseldorf, Alexian Hospital Krefeld, Krefeld, Germany

ABSTRACT

Background: Training, practice, and continuing professional development in old age psychiatry varies across Europe. The aims of this study were to survey current practice and develop recommendations to begin a debate on harmonization.

Methods: A survey was sent out to 38 European countries via email. The survey was sent to members of the European Association of Geriatric Psychiatry (EAGP) Board, members of the World Psychiatric Association, and key old age psychiatrists or other psychiatrists with a special interest in the area for countries where old age psychiatry was not formally a specialty.

Results: Through a process of networking, we identified a key individual from each country in Europe to participate in this study, and 30 out of 38 (79%) representatives responded. Training programs and duration varied between countries. Eleven countries reported that they had geriatric psychiatry training programs and most of these required geriatric psychiatry trainees to complete mandatory training for two years within old age psychiatry. Representatives from ten countries reported having specific Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for old age psychiatrists at consultant level.

Conclusion: There is a clear indication that the recognition of geriatric psychiatry as a specialist discipline in Europe is on the rise. The training procedures and processes in place vary considerably between and sometimes within countries. There are several options for harmonizing old age psychiatry training across Europe with advantages to each. However, support is required from national old age psychiatry bodies across Europe and an agreement needs to be reached on a training strategy that encompasses supervision, development, and appraisal of the knowledge and skills sets of old age psychiatrists.

(Received May 16 2011)

(Revised June 04 2011)

(Revised October 05 2011)

(Accepted October 05 2011)

(Online publication January 06 2012)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Sandeep Toot, Research and Development Department, North East London NHS Foundation Trust, Goodmayes Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes, Essex IG3 8XJ, UK. Phone: +44 (0) 844 600 1200 ext.4453; Fax: + 44 (0) 844 493 0289. Email: sandeep.toot@nelft.nhs.uk.