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

College clarifies its position on the Health and Social Care Bill

Embargoed until 01 February 2012

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has clarified its position on the Health and Social Care Bill in a new statement published today.


The College believes the Bill is fundamentally flawed and will not improve the health and care of people with mental illness. The College is therefore not able to support the Bill as it currently stands.


Today’s statement reflects the concerns of psychiatrists who responded to a new survey of their views on the Health and Social Care Bill. This is the third time the College has surveyed its membership about the Bill. The first survey was carried out back in October 2011. This latest survey – the results of which are published on the College website today – finds that 85% of responding psychiatrists believe the Bill will have a negative impact on the health and social care system, and 80% consider the Bill to be fundamentally flawed.


Professor Sue Bailey, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “For the last 18 months, the College has actively engaged with civil servants and parliamentarians in relation to the NHS reforms. However, the results of our latest membership survey clearly show that psychiatrists have not been reassured.


“We have stopped short of calling for the Bill to be withdrawn, but believe that it is wrong for the government to continue without making the significant changes that we and other medical professionals have been calling for over many months. We understand that the government is due to publish a large number of amendments to the Bill shortly. On behalf of our members and patients, we will scrutinise these amendments carefully in order to make an informed decision on whether or not they address the very real concerns of psychiatrists.”


The College wants the Bill to ensure:

  • parity of esteem between mental health and physical health;
  • a reduction rather than an increase in health inequalities;
  • that integrated care is safeguarded over competition;
  • that competition is only used in the NHS where it can be shown to clearly benefit patients;
  • continuation of a system of effective postgraduate medical education and training;
  • meaningful involvement of service users and carers in needs assessment and commissioning processes; and
  • flexibility for clinicians to undertake work for the benefit of the wider NHS.

For further information, please contact:
Sarah Nevins
Press & Social Media Officer
Telephone: 020 3701 2543
Claire McLoughlin
Media & Communications Manager 
Telephone: 020 3701 2544
Out of hours contact number: 07860 755896


Note to editors:

1,217 College members responded to the latest survey. A breakdown of responses to the survey’s quantitative questions have been posted on the College website. Responses to the qualitative questions are still being analysed. The results of this analysis will be published on the College website during the week beginning 6 February 2012.


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