Friday, 6 July
It’s been a hectic week. I started the week
meeting with chief executives and chairs of mental health trusts.
Stuart Carney, Associate Dean for Educational Policy, and myself
presented about recruitment into psychiatry, and what employers
could do to facilitate medical student placements and tasters for
Foundation doctors. They were particularly positive about the
quality of newly appointed consultants, and saw them as taking a
holistic view of their patients and being actively concerned about
their physical health.
As you know, we’ve been leading work on parity
of esteem between mental and physical health on behalf of the Paul
Burstow, the Minister for Care Services. On Tuesday, in relation to
this, the Head of our Policy Unit, Lucy Thorpe, and one of our
Policy Analysts, Greg Smith, came with me to meet Professor Sir
Mike Richards, National Cancer Director and National Clinical
Director for End of Life Care. We had a really productive
discussion exploring among other things parity of measurement for
mental health, using the range of data sets held on cancer patients
(which include but don’t analyse mental health) as an example. He
had read the whole of our parity of esteem briefing, and said how
helpful it was. So, there’s a very simple message here – we need to
get the facts about mental health out across medicine. We really
hope we can take some work forward with Sir Mike, and get trainee
psychiatrists involved. Top of the list will be smoking cessation
programmes for our patients.
On Wednesday, I met with Roger Graef, chief
executive of documentary company Films on Record.
He has made many cutting edge, informed and non-sensationalised
documentaries in the field of health, mental health, social care,
fostering and adoption.
On Thursday, I presented the College’s interim
report on parity of esteem to the Ministerial Advisory Group, which
was well received. So many thanks to all the members and
stakeholders who have contributed to it so far, and of course to
Lucy and Greg. There is lots more to do, but if we could deliver on
just three priorities for parity of esteem we could make a real
difference. Yesterday, I was also pleased to hear that I had
been elected one of the two new Vice-Presidents of the Academy of
Medical Royal Colleges. I'm very pleased that my fellows Presidents
at the Academy have entrusted mewith this, and I will be asking
them to look at parity of esteem at our next meeting.
Today, I was privileged to be part of the
first medical student psychiatry summer school in Preston - a joint
venture between our North West Division and the North Western
Deanery School of Psychiatry, hosted by Lancashire Care NHS
Foundation Trust. I met an enthusiastic and diverse group of
medical students, at different stages of their carees. Their
questions reflected they would be great additions to
our psychiatry family - thoughtful, challenging and
typified by intelligent kindness. So great thanks to all those
who organised the summer school, and came to share their experience
of being a psychiatrist. Meeting the medical students has been good
for my CPD!
I will spend the weekend with family, and getting ready for our
International Congress next week. All this week, the College has
been a sea of bright pink packing crates, ready for our temporary
migration to Liverpool. I'm sure I'll see many of you
there. And finally, I don’t want to speak too soon, but I may
have good news on the roof shortly...
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