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

Going the extra mile for mental health

After clocking up the miles to visit each of the Party conferences, on Friday I had a lie in at home in Manchester until 7am – luxury!

After work in clinic, I then had the privilege of speaking with and listening to a group of foundation doctors contemplating a lifetime career in psychiatry, with many enthusiastic consultant speakers from my own Trust. I enjoyed spending time with so many really bright, inquisitive young doctors whose high standards of science were so clearly embedded in a social conscience and a determination to make a difference. Many are already sharing the importance of mental health and psychiatry to their medical colleagues, spending time in schools to educate young people on mental health resilience and supporting other trainees.

Equally positive news this week was when our Dean, Wendy Burn, told me that the recent CASC results were the best since the exam was introduced with a total pass rate of 45.5% overall, 57% amongst trainees. CASC is the Clinical Assessment of Skills and Competencies exam and Wendy believes that the improved pass rate is due to national recruitment, improvements in training and work on making the exam more relevant to clinical practice.

 

In the afternoon I spoke at the annual ‘Taking Stock’ conference, organised by Cardiff University Law School to examine how the Mental Health and Mental Capacity Acts are working in the real world. Delegates expressed concern expressed about how Section 136 of the Mental Health Act is working (or not). This section of the Act concerns police powers to remove someone to a ‘place of safety’. This tallied with what Michele Hampson has been telling me from her meetings with the emergency services and A & E staff. I have been so concerned by how this is working that that I have sent anonymised case studies to the Care Services Minister, Norman Lamb MP. I will keep an eye on this, but more importantly continue to see what we can do to prevent already unwell people being bounced between the police, ambulance service, A & E and mental health trusts.

Finally, I can't do this one on my own so it would be really good if the often lonely comments box at the bottom of my blog could be full of information from members about what is happening on the ground.

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