In 2004 the Royal College of Psychiatrists made it clear that it was committed to increasing the involvement of service users and carers throughout psychiatric education. This has been mandatory since June 2005 and it has been a compulsory aspect of psychiatric training for schemes to demonstrate a meaningful involvement of users and carers in the training of psychiatrists.
The involvement of service users and carers in the education of psychiatric trainees is an important aspect of modern medical training both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels Although the majority of trainees embrace this concept, many have expressed anxieties that need to be addressed if they are to have confidence in the role of users/carers as educators. One way to allay trainees’ anxieties would be to incorporate structured sessions by service users/carers in in-house academic programmes, which has already been initiated in some training schemes. However, formal training of service users/carers would be vital, before their involvement as observers or assessors.