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

A whirlwind week for mental health

It’s been quite a week so far for mental health.


Tuesday saw publication of the Mandate for the new NHS Commissioning Board, which enshrined parity of esteem for mental health – a very welcome and big step forward.  RCPsych Awards 2012: Sue Bailey and Allison Pearson


Of course we wait to see how this will be translated on the ground, but after ongoing work with government, I was gratified to see this important and symbolic recognition for parity. We are continuing to do work on how parity can be implemented in practice as I believe there is a crucial role for the College, and psychiatrists more broadly, to work with commissioners when the new commissioning arrangements begin in April next year.


Wednesday saw publication of the Schizophrenia Commission report, ‘The Abandoned Illness’ in the morning, with our own annual awards ceremony held in central London later that day.


The Commission’s report gave a bleak assessment of the state of services throughout the country, which made for pretty grim reading. As a College, we want the very best treatment and services for those with mental illness, and the report’s 42 recommendations seem very sensible, although we will need time to assess them all in detail.


We do of course live in difficult times, with big pressures on NHS budgets, so I hope that the report succeeds in raising awareness of the need for investment in high quality services and helps to improve understanding of this stigmatised and misunderstood condition.


Our members work hard, often under difficult circumstances, to provide the highest quality of care they can, so it gave me enormous pleasure to recognise the best of the best at our annual awards ceremony last night.


Hosted by the author and journalist, Allison Pearson, all of the winners and nominees demonstrated effective clinical practice, care and compassion – hallmarks of great psychiatrists.


I was also delighted that our awards for the first time celebrated the contribution of service users and carers. We are committed to working closely with our own service user recovery forum and carers’ forum, whose members make a major contribution to all aspects of our work.

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