Trainees who are within one year of their anticipated completion of training date are eligible to ‘Act Up’ as consultants, for a fixed-term period of a maximum of three months (This is based upon a whole time equivalent- LTFT trainees may also apply for a period of acting up as a consultant, up to a maximum of three months or on a pro-rata basis).
It is not a mandatory part of the training but a useful tool.
The Royal College of Psychiatry Silver guide outlines the guidance on Acting up consultants.
We would try to support and accommodate trainees wishing to undertake acting-up posts at the end of higher training, usually within their Trust (and if not within the Region).
Trainees should also discuss this with their educational supervisor and training programme director. Note that acting-up posts are for the benefit of the trainee and to help them move into a future consultant post - they should not be used purely to fill "service gaps", and acting-up opportunities that appear to be new posts created to cover a gap (or several gaps) would not be considered suitable.
For more information on time out of training and applications to the College, please contact Psychiatrytraining@rcpsych.ac.uk.
Acting up as a consultant psychiatrist may count towards a CCT or CCT CP where there is provision for these types of posts.
When acting up as a consultant in the same training programme that a trainee has enrolled onto, approval from the RCPsych is not needed. If a trainee is acting up as a consultant in a different training programme, the usual process for applying out of programme (e.g. OOPT) must be followed.
At the RCPsych, we refer to this as an ‘OOPT-AUC’.
Up to a maximum of three months whole time equivalent (for LTFT trainee the timescale is also three months WTE) spent in an ‘acting up’ consultant post may count towards a trainees CCT as part of the GMC-approved specialty training programme, provided the post meets the following criteria:
• The trainee follows local procedures by making contact with the Postgraduate Dean and their team who will advise trainees about obtaining prospective approval.
• The trainee is in their final year of training (or possibly penultimate year if in dual training), though it is preferable for this not to be in the final three months of training, as if any issues arise it would be difficult to address them in the limited time prior to CCT.
• The post is undertaken in the appropriate CCT specialty.
• The approval of the Training Programme Director and Postgraduate Dean is sought.
• There is agreement from the employing trust to provide support and clinical supervision to a level approved by the trainee’s TPD.
• The trainee still receives one hour per week psychiatric supervision either face-to-face or over the phone by an appropriately accredited trainer.
• Trainees retain their NTN during the period of acting up.
• Full time trainees should ‘act up’ in full time Consultant posts wherever possible. All clinical sessions should be devoted to the ‘acting up’ consultant post (i.e., there must be no split between training and ‘acting up’ consultant work).
• In exceptional circumstances, where no full time Consultant posts are available, full-time trainees may ‘act up’ in part-time consultant posts but must continue to make up the remaining time within the training programme.
• The post had been approved by the Regional Advisor (RA) (where appropriate) in its current form.
• If a trainee is on-call, there must be consultant supervision.
• If the period is at the end of the final year of the training programme, a recommendation for the award of a CCT will not be made until the report from the Psychiatric and Educational Supervisors has been received towards the end of the acting up period, and there is a satisfactory ARCP outcome
If the post is in a different training programme:
• the usual Out of Programme (OOPT) approval process applies, and the GMC will prospectively need to see an application form from the deanery and a college letter endorsing the AUC post.
• a programme is a formal alignment or rotation of posts which together comprise a programme of training in a given specialty or subspecialty as approved by the GMC, which are based on a particular geographical area.