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Learning Disability Psychiatry

Psychiatry illustration

The Wessex training programme is tailored so that you can follow your interests and even achieve dual accreditation. We also offer plenty of teaching and management experience to really prepare you for life as a consultant in Learning Disability Psychiatry.

We offer three full-time posts (ST4-6) which means that this is a small and friendly programme but you are well-supported by a wider network of peers.

Wessex is a great place to train thanks to community services with clear clinical models and innovative inpatient services which include secure units and assessment and treatment centres. Wessex is also a great place to live with sunny beaches, rolling countryside and vibrant cities and towns.

Training Programme

We provide higher professional training by spiral learning, to obtain a CCT in Learning Disability Psychiatry. You will usually complete two one-year posts in the community. The rest of your training takes place in three to six month placements for example in forensic inpatient, community services or an intensive support team. We also offer community experience focused on developing your management and leadership skills.

We ensure that you have:

  • Monthly meetings with your educational supervisor throughout your training
  • Low caseload numbers (approximately 20) so that you can really get to know people and follow-up appropriately
  • Community bases which have  input from a consultant psychiatrist
  • Weekly clinical supervision sessions that really happen!
  • Monthly academic programmes consisting of reflective sessions, journal club and/or case-based presentation
  • Case-based psychotherapy group held jointly between Learning Disability trainees and Old Age Psychiatry trainees
  • Full working with the multi-disciplinary team
  • Opportunities for out-of-programme experience
  • Management and leadership training and experience (formal and informal)
  • Opportunity to tailor your clinical work to your special interest sessions
  • Wider peer support thanks to links with neighbouring schemes, the National Learning Disability Training Group and Wessex academic meetings.


Services and  placements

Training takes place through  Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust (Hampshire and Southampton) and Solent NHS Trust (Portsmouth).

Specialist learning disability services are provided for people (and their carers) to improve and sustain health and well-being. Services are centred on six areas of clinical practice: mental health, challenging behaviour, autism, forensic, epilepsy and complex health needs.

The majority of referrals are from local authority-run adult social services and children's services and GPs. There is an open system with referrals accepted from all sources, including self-referral.

Trainees will get opportunities to experience learning disabilities in the forensic low-security unit based at Woodhaven (Ashford unit and Cypress Unit) in Southampton. There is also the new Willow Assessment and Treatment unit in Southampton, designed to support people with learning disabilities who find it hard to manage in their home or care environment.

In addition, Southern Health provides specialist learning disability services (inpatient and community) in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Wiltshire. Although posts in these areas are part of the Thames Valley programme, there may be opportunities to experience these services as part of special interest sessions.

You can find additional programme information at:


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