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

Blog from Belfast

Wednesday 18 January

Today I’m in Belfast for an Academic Meeting of the RCPsych in Northern Ireland. I’ve been looking forward to the meeting, as it’s a great opportunity to meet more colleagues.

Back at base, I’m concentrating on taking forward collaborative actions with all the external partners I've met with on your behalf over the last six months – those with shared ideas and practical expertise.

Yesterday I met a truly inspirational young clinical psychologist, Charlie Alcock, who is chief executive and founder of a charity called MAC-UK which makes mental health accessible to deprived young people. During her clinical training, Charlie specialised in community work and completed a placement in New York where she worked with young offenders attached to street gangs. After this, she started to engage with young gang members in London and established a project called Music and Change – from which MAC-UK came into fruition. Charlie reminded me of many of our young psychiatrists, who are taking opportunities to engage with those at the margins to make a real difference.

Debate and discussion over the Health and Social Care Bill continues. The College’s service user and carer forums have given me good feedback on their views on, and concerns about, the Bill. Many are worried about the potential combined effect with welfare reform. Although the Health and Social Care Bill applies to England, I am receiving feedback from all the UK countries because of concerns about the impact it may have on postgraduate education across the UK.

Finally, don’t forget to put forward your nominations for the RCPsych Awards 2012. We were excited to receive our first entry last week, and are looking forward to receiving many more. Don’t forget the deadline for entries is Monday 27 February.



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