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

Divisions and engagement

Thursday, 7 June

I had a hectic ‘rest’ over the Jubilee weekend. Before the break, it was really helpful to be out and about in the South East Division. Dr Phil Davison has just stepped down as Divisional Chair, and I would like to thank him for all the work he has done in partnership with the Division’s executive committee. Fortunately we won’t be saying farewell to Phil, as he will continue as the College’s lead for sustainability.

Yesterday, I was at a senior medical staff group in Tees Valley – I’d forgotten how beautiful the countryside is between Teeside and Manchester. It was a really good discussion with a vibrant group of psychiatrists. There were many challenging questions, but these were solution-focused. The more technical questions about training, dual training and flexibility in training will be winging their way to the Dean. There were also some good ideas expressed about how to support consultants through their now extended career pathways.

At the end of May, the King’s Fund published a report called Leadership and engagement for improvement in the NHS: Together we can. It makes the case for engaging staff, patients and boards and for building relationships across systems of care, and really is a must-read.  

The report argues that NHS leaders should be giving greater priority to patient and staff engagement. Engaged staff deliver better patient experience, fewer errors, stronger financial management, higher staff morale and motivation, and less absenteeism and less stress. Specific evidence links medical engagement with organisational performance from both the NHS and other health care systems. Patient engagement can deliver more appropriate care and improved outcomes.

So will this be the end of ‘pace-setting’ NHS leadership style? Although much of it appears obvious, I hope that now the King’s Fund are saying it that people will take notice.

After a long dry spell, the rain is definitely back. My roof? Don’t ask!


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