A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor, who has specialized
in the field of Psychiatry. To be able to practice, a Psychiatrist
must be registered with the Health Professions Council of South
Africa (HPCSA), as a Psychiatrist, under the specialist register.
Because Psychiatrists have a medical training, they can examine,
diagnose and treat patients with Medical Illness that can lead to
Mental Problems. Psychiatrists are also trained in Psychotherapy
and therefore are able to treat patients through Psychotherapeutic
Psychiatrists can prescribe Medication and Psychotherapy to treat
A Psychiatrist must first complete a medical degree. This is usually
indicated as a MBCHB or MBBCH degree. This Qualification takes six
years to complete. An Internship follows that takes another year,
and South African doctors are then conscripted to do a year of Community
service. All together it takes eight years to be registered as a
medical doctor in South Africa.
After this a doctor could specialize and become a "specialist".
It takes another four years of study to gain the qualification to
practice as a Psychiatrist. This qualification is usually indicated
as a MMed Psych or a FF Psych or FC Psych.
There are currently about 350 practicing Psychiatrists in South
Africa. About 60% of these Psychiatrists work in the Private Sector.