Wednesday, 21 December 2011
On Monday I had a great evening at the home of RCGP chair Dr
Clare Gerada with her family and friends there including the
incoming president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child
Hilary Cass. We intend to work across all three of our
Colleges, looking at the challenges facing families and how we as
doctors can best safeguard the vulnerable at the margins.
I next met Clare at a hastily-arranged
meeting with the Shadow Health Minister. As you know, medical royal
colleges are apolitical bodies. However, we were being urged to ask
for an 11th hour total opposition to the Health and
Social Care Bill, against a background of intense scrutiny of the
Bill in the House of Lords.
So what, as psychiatrists and doctors, do
we want to do at this 11th hour for our service users
and carers? In mental health, we came late to the world of tariffs.
Even with the great work that many of our members are doing on
payment by results, commissioning guidance etc, our patients may
still be disadvantaged. We want a real – not a token – say in
commissioning. We need protected time in our job plans, whether
working in the NHS, independent or third sector. We want the
ability to influence local service development, to influence
regional and national policy, to carry out our role as educators to
the next generation of psychiatrists, and to ensure our College
continues to play a vital role in quality improvement by providing
the best possible post-graduate medical education. We must have
parity of esteem between mental and physical health throughout the
face of the Bill.
For England, the next three months in
parliament are vital and the outcome will have potential knock-on
effects for the other UK countries. I need your continued support
and views, as I’m determined to stand up for what is best for users
and carers, and to enable you to continue your roles as leaders for
bet mental health and social care.
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity
to wish you all the best for the holiday season. I wish you all a
good break – as I return back up north to continue fixing my
leaking roof. Whatever the challenges we all face in
2012, we can have a peaceful New Year, and continue to work, as I
know each and every one of you do, to improve the quality of mental
health services for our users and carers.
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