I recently attended my first College Awards evening as
President, along with some 300 guests working in psychiatry. The
evening, hosted by musician, journalist and Church of England
priest columnist and presenter, The Reverend Richard Coles, was a
lovely celebration of success which is something we don’t do enough
An Honorary Fellowship was presented to Alastair Campbell the
political strategist, writer and dedicated mental health
Alastair later presented Rob Poole with a Lifetime Achievement
Award and I was honoured to be able to interview Rob. Most of you
will be aware of his huge contribution to social psychiatry but you
may not know, as I uncovered on the night, that he is a talented
musician and blogger.
See the full list of the award
Re-visiting the past, looking to
The last few weeks have been busy traveling to various
conferences and meetings.
I made my third visit to Bournemouth since I started as
President to attend the Faculty of Rehabilitation & Social
Psychiatry Annual Conference.
This time I actually managed to leave the hotel and walk by the
sea. I was there to talk about my priorities and get feedback on
them, I also picked up a new Twitter hashtag #wendysgotaplan. Not
trending yet but give me time…..
I stepped into the past to make a trip back to Southampton
Medical School where I trained, invited by David Baldwin who heads
up their Mental Health Group.
I heard from a number of enthusiastic young researchers in his
department where they are doing some really interesting
I gave a talk in a lecture theatre where I spent many (often
boring) hours as a student. The only change was the addition of a
ramp and a wheelchair space. The student bar had gone but the
foyer of the hospital had been transformed with a Costa and a Marks
Mental Health Act: survey
The review of the Mental Health Act in England and Wales,
triggered by the steadily rising number of detentions and the fact
that you are more likely to be detained if you are from certain
ethnic groups, is now underway, led by Simon Wessely.
You will remember that I asked members in England and Wales to
complete a survey. Thanks to those who took part, we had a total of
1,951 responses, 15.0% of all members, from across England and
The majority of respondents believe that it should be possible
to admit people to hospital against their wishes where they have
mental capacity but pose a risk to themselves or others.
There was also a majority view that discharging people to
the community with conditions on their treatment is an important
part of keeping people safe and well in some circumstances.
Since our survey closed, the terms of the review of the Mental Health
Act have been set out. We are working with the review
to ensure it is fully evidence-based and that the expertise and
experience of psychiatrists is fully considered during the review.
We will be producing a full report of the findings from our member
survey to submit to the review and to share with members.
We have also set up an email address (MentalHealthActReview@rcpsych.ac.uk)
in order for all members to have the opportunity to give their
thoughts on the areas which the review will cover and to raise
other concerns and areas which the review should consider.
As the work of the review progresses I am really keen to make
sure that you are kept up to date and that the College continues to
listen to your views and represent them
Around the devolved nations
It’s not only England and Wales that are looking at this area.
In Scotland, the Mental Welfare Commission has produced guidance,
the Rights in
Mind Pathway, on the use of the Mental Health
legislation, which was supported by the College.
RCPsych in Scotland continues to involve itself with reviews and
reforms of mental health legislation and implementation of the new
Mental Health Strategy through representation on groups and its
participation in the Scottish Mental Health Partnership.
In Northern Ireland, the Mental Capacity Act (N.I.) 2016 is
expected to go live in 2020. This is extremely interesting and will
be watched by the rest of the world with great attention.
The RCPsych in Northern Ireland are working closely with the
Department of Health and others in the development of the Code of
Practice which will accompany the Act.
RCPsych in Northern Ireland have been hosting workshops to
engage members and colleagues from other disciplines and will be
holding a conference on 22 March 2018 which I am very excited
Details will become available on our Northern
Ireland Conferences and events
page. The conference will be preceded
the evening before by the first ever President’s Lecture outside
London which will be delivered by Sue Bailey.
Recruitment for core training next year is now open.
We are really hoping that the recruitment campaign we have been
running will make a difference but please do all you can to help by
spreading the word about how great and how rewarding a career in
Read the November