Training in old age psychiatry: The 30 countries' perspective
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To improve the care of older people with mental health problems it is necessary to have a highly skilled workforce who is very well-trained in the diagnosis and management of the range of the psychiatric problems affecting older people including the dementias. Key to this is the need to have an adequate number of specialists in geriatric psychiatry and a wider recognition of geriatric psychiatry training across Europe including a broad agreement on training requirements. In 2012 the European Association of Geriatric Psychiatry (Toot et al.) published the results of a Europe wide survey on geriatric psychiatry training to scope current practice and develop recommendations to begin a debate on harmonization. Representatives from 30 out of 38 (79%) representatives responded including many from countries where old age psychiatry was not formally a specialty. 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. 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. This workshop will look at options for harmonization and take first steps towards a consensus.