Accessibility Page Navigation
Style sheets must be enabled to view this page as it was intended.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

A week of politics and parity

Tuesday: I had an entirely positive experience as I was privileged to open the new Medical Education Centre at North Manchester General Hospital, part of the activities of North Western psychiatry and postgraduate medical education.  It is a real commitment by the Trust in recognising the importance of medical education. It was great to meet with their Chair, their Chief Executive, consultants from across the Trust and key members of the Deanery, including Jackie Hayden who as you know is the Dean with postgraduate medical lead for psychiatry.


We were able to have very a frank discussion following my presentation on the NHS reform and its impact on mental health services. The consultants were able to give me very clear messages about what they wanted the College to be doing, and how the College could improve in what it was doing. 


I would like to applaud this Trust in that they have taken a particular open and transparent approach to serious incidents. It made me think about our own approach, as a College, in supporting members where we are involved in adverse incidents, but also the approach that the College should take to the whole area of risk. 


We are going to set up a new group looking at risk, chaired by Dr John Morgan, and I want to push the concept of positive risk-taking.  I know this goes against the tide in a risk averse society. If we’re really going to deliver and help our users of services to truly go on the road to recovery, we have to be able to live with risk in enabling and empowering them to move forward in their own lives.


The rest of this week has been very busy, but positive. Yesterday in the morning, I went to a meeting about the NHS Mandate. The positive thing here was that there was lots of conversation on emerging themes about the importance of parity of esteem between physical and mental health, and a recognition that there needed to be more attention paid  within the NHS Mandate to mental health and learning disability.  It was good that it was not just me, but the NGOs for mental health were also making this point. We had great support from the rest of the voluntary sector working in social care, and also from the Presidents from other Colleges - so we really are getting the message out there.


In the afternoon I was able to meet with Steve Field who has been charged with looking at the regular three year review of the NHS constitution. Again, working with Policy, we had gone very carefully through the NHS constitution and saw many opportunities to put more in about mental health and parity of esteem.  We've had a very positive reception, and in particular, we will be taking forward some work and supporting Steve Field as he takes up his role leading on inequalities. It is clear he is going to take a particular interest in learning disabilities, so we are arranging for him to meet with the Chair of the Intellectual Disability Faculty and other key people working in this area.  Steve Field clearly has a passion for those who are in vulnerable groups, and thinks as a GP about the background of the whole person and not just the medical condition. 


So I do hope that the work I have led on, and that so many of you have contributed to, will raise the profile of psychiatry and mental health, and how the whole needs of our patients can be met. This is now having some positive results across all the various government activities.


I had an interesting meeting with GMC on Fairness.  It was good to see a whole section on working with people with learning disability.  As expected, the audience had a range of concerns around education and training and fitness to practice, as well as about doctors who commit suicide whilst going through a GMC process. My challenge is what will the GMC do about ensuring medical schools deliver appropriate and proportionate training in mental health.

Subscribe to this post's comments using RSS


Add a Comment
  • Security Verification:
    Type the numbers you see in the picture below.
    Type the numbers you see in this picture.
Make a Donation