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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