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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

A hectic week

Last week was hectic – but with purpose. I was pleased to see a letter signed by 35 of the country’s top forensic psychiatrists published in The Times last Thursday. For those who didn’t see it, the letter explained how forensic psychiatry services have recently been “substantially privatised” and that “the emphasis on a range of providers and the purchaser-provider split has had unwelcome effects on patient care”.  The letter warned that the experience of forensic services offers “a glimpse of what the future holds for the rest of medicine if the Health and Social Care Bill is passed.”  

Last Tuesday, I attended a good meeting of the psychiatric sub-committee at the BMA where we shared concerns and shared solutions.  

On Wednesday, at a meeting of the Medical Programme Board, we had our plans and recommendations for recruitment accepted. This was thanks to the hard work of the Registrar, Dr Laurence Mynors-Wallis, the Associate Registrar for Recruitment, Dr Tom Brown, and the Deputy National Director for the Foundation Programme, Dr Stuart Carney. Watch this space for more details soon.  

On Thursday, I travelled to Newcastle for the General and Community Faculty Conference in Newcastle. It was a privilege to be part of this very vibrant, rich meeting – with lots of feisty questions put to me and the Registrar! Unfortunately I don’t have all the answers, but Dr Nick Kosky, chair of the Faculty, is leading on a plan to enable us to make an honest and clear statement about functional teams and functional splits, with all the diverse meanings and views on this. It’s good to hear of psychiatrists who are taking a lead and going out to our future commissioners – GPs – to state the worth, value and positive difference that psychiatrists leading multidisciplinary teams can and will make.

I spent the weekend back home in Manchester, sorting out a leaky roof and preparing for a briefing for Peers about the Health and Social Care Bill. This will take place in the House of Lords this evening, and will be chaired by one of our former Presidents, Professor The Baroness Hollins. I'll update you on this event later in the week.

 

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