Psychiatry Training & Recruitment
Welcome to the Livewell Southwest Psychiatry Training and Recruitment webpage. We hope that you find the information useful whether you are considering psychiatry as a specialty or if you have already decided that is the route for you.
Please do feel free to contact any of the individuals listed below should you have any questions. If you are looking to apply for any post within our organisation, please contact the Medical Staffing Department who will be happy to talk you through current vacancies or point you in the right direction as to who you can discuss your requirements with in more detail.
Introduction from Dr Maung Oakarr, Director of Medical Education
For me psychiatry is a very sophisticated specialty where science meets art. There is an element of medicine, psychology and social intervention. You get to work closely within the MDT team as a key player.
As a Livewell Southwest psychiatry trainee, you are guaranteed fantastic exposure to a range of psychiatric specialities during your placement. Over the years, we have noticed that many of our trainees progress to consultant jobs locally, due to having a good collegial support, support from the organisation and most importantly having a better work life balance.
We focus on trainees’ continuous professional and personal development with the ethos of “Better training for Better Care”. We have a regular monthly Clinical Practice Meeting, Junior Doctor Forum and Focus Group where Trainees experience and feedback are addressed to be able to provide excellent in house training. This has led to Livewell Southwest receiving ever improving GMC survey outcomes over the last 5 years nationally with no red outlier and excellent feedback from the Deanery Quality Panel locally.
We strongly support trainees to attend Local and Regional CPD and MRCPsych Teaching programme. Local MRCPsych exam pass rate is >80% over the past 5 years in both Paper A, B and CASC exams.
Testimonials from trainees
I have recently completed Core Psychiatry training and I’m currently working as a Locum Staff Grade to gain some further experience of older adult mental health before applying to higher training. I am originally from Plymouth and after living in London for 5 years and studying for a degree in physics I returned to the city and began my medical training. I chose to specialise in Psychiatry as I found the truly holistic approach to patient care much more satisfying and the many varied ways in which people can present to our service held my interest. I chose to stay in Plymouth as it is a wonderfully situated city with the sea and Dartmoor on our doorstep and a broad range of cultural activities. During my core training I experienced a close knit community of doctors within Livewell Southwest and this is mainly due to the weekly teaching sessions in which psychiatrists working across the city get together to learn and share experiences and knowledge. Core trainees attend weekly Balint groups in which we reflect upon challenging cases and as a group explore the underlying issues so that we may approach similar situations more confidently in the future. During our core training we have the opportunity to experience a wide range of subspecialties with many experienced and very approachable consultants. I would recommend training in Plymouth to anyone interested in a career in Psychiatry.Dr Daniel Pooley, BMBS, BSc (Hons), MRCPsych, Sec 12(2) Approved
I am currently working as a specialty doctor with the Home Treatment Team, and I completed my core training years in Plymouth. I chose psychiatry due to my intrigue into the experiences individuals with mental health issues have and I wanted to do my part in trying to improve the quality of their lives. I chose Plymouth not only due to the fascinating placements on offer, the opportunities for various projects, and the high levels of support given by trainers & staff, but also the location! Next to the moors, next to Cornwall, next to the sea… All good when revising for exams! Plymouth’s exam pass rate is down to consultants and registrars going out of their way to help and support trainees, with understanding that providing a service must be balanced with training & teaching. I’ve had an incredible experience in Plymouth, and have absolutely no regrets!Dr Ian Groeber, BSc MBChB MRCPsych
Having completed my core psychiatry training in Plymouth with Livewell Southwest, and now in the midst of higher training in Plymouth, I can honestly recommend the training programme to anyone. The consultant body and staff are second to none, and the support I have received has been faultless. As a trainee I have felt valued, and have been given a voice to guide change. Training really is prioritised, with lots of opportunities for development.Dr Lara Strang
Testimonials from Medical Director and Consultants
As one of the consultants I really enjoy working in Plymouth. We are a relatively small group of doctors and it is really nice to know all your medical work colleagues. We try hard to offer support and interesting opportunities for trainees whenever possible. It’s also nice to be able to do the whole after work beach thing!Dr Soni Bhate
I have worked as a Consultant Psychiatrist in Plymouth since June 2016. I started as a locum and later decided to apply for a substantive role due to multiple factors some of which include friendly and supportive medical workforce, excellent local academic programme, wide range of opportunities to advance career and skills. Recently I was well supported by peers to apply for College Tutor role. I have been impressed by importance given to supporting trainees to progress in the career. Undoubtedly one of the best places I have worked in.
As a college tutor I aim to work closely with the trainees and trust to continue to take the training in psychiatry to even higher standards.Dr Vishal Sharma
MRCPsych Pass Rate
MRCPsych training is provided by the Deanery and our local pass rate is > 80%.
GMC Survey Results
The South West Peninsula Deanery was in the top four highest ranked nationally for overall satisfaction in the 2017 GMC Survey for both General Psychiatry and Core Psychiatry Training.
The Deanery was also ranked as the third highest performer for a supportive environment in General Psychiatry Training and third highest for providing feedback to Core Psychiatry Trainees.
The Deanery was also ranked as the second highest Deanery for providing adequate experience during placements.
A report provided to Health Education England following the GMC survey results listed Livewell Southwest’s strengths in Medical Training as;
- We are the main provider of Psychiatry Undergraduate Training for PUPSMD who we are also an approved partner of.
- We have nine approved educational supervisors for specialist trainees.
- We have 15 approved Clinical/Educational Supervisors for Foundation/Core/VTS Trainees.
- We have a robust and varied Induction program.
- 0 negative outliers in Trainee Survey which is an improvement from 2015.
As an organisation we are ever changing to support all of our Medical Staff, especially Trainee Doctors. We have a Medical Staffing Lead for Junior Doctors, a Guardian for Safe Working Hours, a Director of Medical Education and a College Tutor.
Supporting our Foundation Year 3 doctors
You may be a Junior Doctor spending up to a year out of training whilst undertaking other posts in the NHS after your foundation years, if this is the case we would love to hear from you to see if continued training within Psychiatry is for you. As an F3 at Livewell Southwest you can expect the following as a part of your commitment to us;
- Protected time to attend the local teaching and academic programme through active job planning.
- One hours supervision from their consultant supervisor through active job planning.
- An active plan for careers advice for these doctors through the Trust or HEE (Deanery).
- Encouragement for you to participate in audits and/or research projects to build your CV.
- Support for you to join the Royal College of Psychiatrists as an Associate Member – this is free!
- Encouragement to utilise the training portfolio-on-line available on the RCPsych website.
- A robust and exciting welcome pack.
- Help for preparing for Core Trainee 1 interviews.
- Study leave budgets are provided by the HEE (Deanery) and unfortunately F3 doctors are not funded through this avenue. However, Livewell Southwest appreciates the importance of study and is able to fund F3 doctors to maintain professional development and develop their careers.
If you are interested in applying for a Foundation Year 3 course at Livewell, please feel free to contact Medical Staffing on the email address or telephone number below.
Here at Livewell Southwest, we pride ourselves on our varied and informative induction programme for all trainees.
Here is an example of what you may experience during your induction with us:
Foundation Taster Week
Livewell Southwest is excited to now offer Foundation Taster Weeks as part of the Promoting Recruitment into Psychiatry.
Our taster weeks are carefully put together by previous trainees to ensure that they are relevant to your training. The week may include introductory sessions with our mental health services, clinics, teaching sessions and a full day shadowing Psychiatric Liaison. You can see an example of a Taster Week here.
Weekly CPD Teaching
Livewell Southwest ensures that there is a robust weekly CPD Teaching Programme for Trainees and Senior Doctors. You can see in the example below, the variety of topics that you will have an opportunity to take part in during your time with us.
Work Experience - NEW!
We are now able to offer work experience to students between 16 – 18 years. This is an excellent opportunity for students to be able to gain valuable insight into whether a medical career in Psychiatry is the path they wish to follow. For more information, interested individuals should contact:
Dr Michael Cooper
Contact through PA, Jade Kerr on
Director of Medical Education (DME):
Dr Maung Oakarr
Contact through Medical Secretary, Vicky Ling on
Dr Vishal Sharma
Contact through Medical Secretary on