Workforce, training and education
East of England

Covid-19 Update


Update 8th November 2020

England is now in a 2nd national lockdown.  Covid cases have been relatively low across the region, but spread unevenly within that, leading to more marked increases in some areas.  No redeployment of trainees doing psychiatry is currently being undertaken and there are clearer guidelines for when this might happen.  Academic trainees currently on research blocks are expected to continue in research rather than change to clinical deployment.

Teaching and training continues as previously, with much of it happening via teleconferencing - particularly Zoom and Teams.

Don't forget to look after yourself during these times (harder in the winter months).  Stay active, connect with colleagues and friends (even if only videocalls), and look after your health.

Please contact your Training Programme Director, or myself (Head of School, Chris O'Loughlin) if there are particular difficulties or issues.


Update 1st May 2020

The main focus over the last week or two has been ensuring there is clear guidance for ARCPs as trainees move towards these in the next few weeks.  Note that Psychiatry ARCPs are expected to happen but there is wide understanding that the ability to build up portfolios as normal will have been affected by Covid-19.  The message for trainees would be to try not to worry - panels will be flexible in looking at the available evidence and very much appreciate the circumstances you are working in.

There has been various guidance from COPMed and the GMC (including a new outcome 10, though we expect this to be quite rare in psychiatry), and a RCPsych guidance document that can be found on their website: (usual address, looking under "ARCP").

Note that at the time of writing this still has to be appoved by the GMC so there may be some changes, but the expectation is these will be slight.

There is also a video podcast prepared by myself as a walkthrough of the guidelines, looking particularly at the evidence required and how panels will look at it.

Link here: 

Many thanks for all you are doing,

Chris O'Loughlin, Head of School


Update 3rd April 2020

I'm afraid the RCPsych Paper A has now been cancelled.  To mitigate the effect on progression in training the CASC exam can now be sat after 24 months psychiatry training even if the written papers have not yet been passed.  More details on the RCPsych pages here:

The Deanery is also hoping to roll out an online learning platform over the next few weeks to make up for the loss of  local and regional teaching.  Will have more details soon !

Also don't forget about the PSW (can self-refer) or the RCPsych Support Service if you are struggling... and continue to look after each other.



Updated 23rd March 2020

An update and further information on Psychiatry training from Dr Kate Lovett, Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists: 


Update 16th March 2020

It won’t be a surprise that the government has stepped up the advice on social distancing, self-isolation, and restricting activities as the coronavirus cases increase.  There is a need to avoid spread of the virus within the NHS, and to free up available clinician time to enable safe staffing where colleagues are off-work or sick, and patients significantly affected.
In line with other specialty schools within the Deanery, we are recommending that Psychiatry regional courses and training are postponed until further notice.
This includes:
- Regional Higher training teaching on 24th March
- Communication Skills Workshop, 24th March
- Clinical Skills days (from 17th March)
- LeaP graduation day on 26th March
- Cambridge MRCPsych course (check if you attend a different local course)
- The School of Psychiatry meeting on the 31st March will now be held via teleconference (details to follow)
You will have seen separate communication about trainees who would have been changing rotation in April.
As things currently stand, ARCPs are still planned for the summer but may happen remotely – trainees should keep up with portfolio requirements where possible (though there will be some flexibility around requirements that have been affected by the epidemic). 
Obviously it’s an evolving situation, and we will try to get some alternatives running, particularly remote learning and online resources.
As ever – take some time to look after yourselves (this is a long haul) and each other.  Keep safe, wash hands and be kind.
Best wishes,
Chris O’Loughlin


Update 13th March 2020

The Covid-19 outbreak is understandably a source of anxiety and concern for psychiatry trainees, both for the welfare of our service users as well as for the wellbeing of trainees themselves and their families.  The situation is rapidly evolving and regional updates affecting training will be posted here.  There will be ongoing central government advice and directives, as well as local trust measures that should be followed.  

The current situation is to take sensible, practical measures to delay the spread of the virus including regular hand washing, self-isolation if symptomatic with cough or fever and appropriate social distancing particularly where vulnerable people are concerned.

Regional teaching is currently being assessed on a case by case basis - this will almost certainly change to a more general cancellation as illness become more common, and effects on staff more profound.  I would anticipate that local teaching likewise will be disrupted in the region.

Note that the Core Trainee Clinical Skills teaching on the 17th March is cancelled.

It's important however to keep up with training wherever possible so please make use of opportunities as they arise, including WBPAs, supervision, keeping on top of portfolios and any distance learning that is appropriate for your level of training.  Note that expenses related to training that has to be cancelled due to Covid-19 will be reimbursed.

There will be further updates as the situation changes, but follow the government's advice, wash hands regularly and stay safe.

Chris O'Loughlin, Head of School


Friday, 13 March, 2020
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Friday, 13 March, 2020