Friday, 16 September 2011
Earlier this week, I participated in a seminar
about classifications of mental disorders. There was informed
debate from many members on progress with ICD11 and DSM5, and how
we will deal with the challenges of a new system. Dr Mike Crawford,
the new head of the College’s Centre for Quality Improvement, gave
an interesting update on the progress of the personality disorder
On Wednesday, I had another in what has been a
series of meetings with the policy unit at the Centre for Social
Justice. Several members of the College have been involved in the
Centre’s recent work and publications, relating to mental health,
young offenders and the elderly. I now have hopes for closer
liaison. Dr Nori Graham, one of our Honorary Fellows, is working on
the challenges to the elderly, the impact of social isolation and
poverty. There are often simple, effective, local solutions – and I
know that many of you are already involved in and working on these
aspects of care.
After this meeting, I attended a mental health
summit on the Mental Health Strategy. Representatives from more
than 40 mental health and social care organisations crammed into a
room to share concerns about how services are being cut – and in
particular the impact on smaller, third sector organisations that
provide support to many of our service users and carers. We are
concerted in our efforts to monitor what is happening and to
influence government at all levels. The College’s Registrar, Dr
Laurence Mynors-Wallis, has just sent out a questionnaire to all
Medical Directors on the impact of cuts in mental health services.
We hope this will capture what providers are planning to do, not
just in the short-term but also in the medium-term.
Yesterday, I spent time with other medical royal college Presidents
at an away day. High on our agenda was NHS reform and the Health
and Social Care Bill. The discussions were robust, but gradually we
found a consensus and will be preparing a briefing for the House of
Lords. Concerns about the proposed reforms are similar across the
Colleges. Foremost is whether this Bill, as it stands, will
increase health inequalities. We also discussed issues of education
and training, and the future role of Colleges and Deaneries.
On my way back to Belgrave Square, I bumped into Juliet Lyon, an
old friend and director of the Prison Reform Trust. The Trust wants
us to join them in supporting the drive to bring
mentally-disordered offenders out of custody and into effective
Today is a meeting of College Council. Council Members will hear
from Dr Tom Brown, our new associate registrar, about his plans for
recruitment. I also hope that our Faculties and Divisions will
start to look at interfaces between specialties, ages and
geographical areas – and consider how we can better deliver
integrated continuity of care.
On Saturday evening I fly to Buenos Aires for
the 15th World Congress of Psychiatry, organised by the
World Psychiatric Association (WPA). I will spend the time
searching and seeking out relevant projects and ideas in other
countries from which we can learn. As many of you will know Dinesh,
our immediate Past-President, is standing for President of the WPA.
I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing him the very best of luck.
I look forward to updating you again next week
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