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

August 2011

College news
Other news



President, Professor Sue Bailey College news



Professor Sue Bailey: our new President

We welcomed Professor Sue Bailey as our new President at the AGM in Brighton on 30 June 2011. Find out more about her priorities for her Presidency.

College poll







New strategic plan – message from the Chief Executive







Dr Tom Brown, the new Associate Registrar for Recruitment aims to develop a strategy that targets medical students and foundation doctors







New College report: Our Invisible Addicts





Intelligent Kindness







Baroness Sheila Hollins
  • College poll: result of July’s poll and this month’s question

    Last month we asked if you agreed that psychiatrists overuse antipsychotic medication, especially in the elderly or people with learning difficulties. Out of 91 respondents, 29 (32%) agreed with the statement that antipsychotics were overused, whilst 62 (68%) disagreed.


    This month’s poll picks up on the debate in the media initiated by the College’s report Our Invisible Addicts. Follow the link to give your view as to whether alcohol use in the elderly population is a public health matter or a private problem.


  • College vacancies
    Specialist Advisor to the Psychiatrists’ Support Service

    Applications are invited for the new role of Specialist Adviser to the Psychiatrists’ Support Service (PSS) and Remediation Services. The post holder will oversee, lead and develop the PSS and the College’s new Invited Review Mechanism, together with developing College links with the National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS) and strengthening mentoring for psychiatrists. The time commitment involved is approximately one day per week, and the term of office is 5 years. Further information can be found here. Email a CV and covering letter outlining your experience for the post. Interviews will take place on 7 September 2011.

    CPD Online Trainee Editor

    Are you an ST4/5 interested in gaining experience in e-learning by joining the Advisory Board of CPD Online as Trainee Editor? We are looking for someone to assist with educational, content, and technical editing of modules in preparation for their release on the website. The successful candidate would also be encouraged to write or co-author a module from their area of clinical interest and/or to evaluate the impact of CPD Online to date. Supervision and training will be provided and an honorary contract of employment issued. For a full job description contact Rian Douthwaite. Closing date for applications: 29 August 2011.


  • New strategic plan – message from the Chief Executive

    The College’s current Strategic Plan 2008-2011 is due to end in December 2011.  A new Strategic Plan will come into operation in 2012 and will last until 2015.

    In these times of economic uncertainty, it is even more important that the College has an agreed plan for its priorities. The College is also obliged to present its priorities to the Charity Commission and to report on their progress on an annual basis.

    The new draft strategic objectives, which are clustered around the College’s three core purposes, can be read here. The objectives are based on areas which were in the current Strategic Plan and are still ongoing, together with new priorities from the President and other Honorary Officers. Please send comments or amendments to Vanessa Cameron, Chief Executive by 30 September 2011.


  • Message from Dr Tom Brown, the new Associate Registrar for Recruitment

    I have just taken up the new post of Associate Registrar for Recruitment. I regard the task of recruiting high quality doctors to psychiatry as crucial not only for the college, but for the patients we treat on a daily basis.

    Our recruitment difficulties are well known and not unique to the UK. A number of studies indicate that medical students and junior doctors regard psychiatry as being remote from the rest of medicine. Moreover our speciality is seen as unscientific and using treatments with a weak evidence base. Students believe other medical practitioners hold us in low esteem and frequently "bad mouth" us.

    Challenging these perceptions will not be easy. Our aim is to develop a strategy focussed on medical students and foundation year doctors. There will be other target audiences but these two will be central. Key to delivering this strategy will be our College Divisions and Faculties, as well as the Psychiatric Trainees Committee who have already shown great interest and enthusiasm in tackling this problem.

    It is my view however that this is everyone’s business. All of us need to be conscious of the image of the profession we portray to others, especially in this context to medical students and junior and senior medical colleagues. I look forward to working with you and would like to hear your ideas on how to tackle the recruitment difficulties. Please email your thoughts.



  • Review your signups

    Are you signed up for memberships of Faculties, Sections, Divisions and Special Interest Groups that are no longer your areas of interest? We don’t want to waste your time by sending out unwanted information, so we’ve made it really easy for you to check your entry in the College’s membership database. Just go to the Members’ area of the College web page, and click on login to the members’ area. This will take you to the page where you can update your entry.


  • College Affiliateships

    After many years of being somewhat in the shadows, we are now trying to improve our links with Specialty Doctors, Associate Specialists and Staff Grade doctors in psychiatry. SAS doctors have much to contribute to the activities of the College through becoming Affiliates. Affiliateship offers a real opportunity to feel more part of the College, with benefits that include receiving the British Journal of Psychiatry/The Psychiatrist, the chance to represent your Faculty/Division or Section and being able to register with the College Online Portfolio for workplace based assessments. For more information, please visit the website or contact Lena Hartley.


  • New College reports

    Our Invisible Addicts

    This report from the Older People’s Substance Misuse Working Group examines the nature and extent of substance misuse in older adults, and makes key recommendations for service delivery, staff training and education, and public policy.

    Minority ethnic communities and specialist learning disability services

    A new report from the Faculty of the Psychiatry of Learning Disability Working Group, providing guidance for improving access to services and, where available, good practice examples.


  • Recent RCPsych Publications

    Intelligent Kindness: Reforming the Culture of Healthcare - by John Ballatt and Penelope Campling

    A powerful new approach to healthcare reform. It examines the delivery of care and treatment as expressions of compassion – suggesting that this may be a better way to improve the quality and efficiency of services.

    Workplace-Based Assessments in Psychiatry (2nd edn) - edited by Amit Malik, Dinesh Bhugra and Andrew Brittlebank

    A new edition of this popular title includes new chapters on educational supervisor reports, DONCS, the new online portfolio for trainees, workplace-based assessments in psychotherapy and views from trainees themselves.

    Alcohol-Use Disorders: The NICE Guideline on the Diagnosis, Assessment and Management of Harmful Drinking and Alcohol Dependence – by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health

    Harmful drinking leads to 2.5 million deaths annually and alcohol is the third leading risk factor globally for burden of illness. This clinical guideline enables healthcare professionals to recognise and manage these prevalent problems in adults and in young people, and offer effective treatments to their patients.


  • Former President elected BMA President

    One of the College’s former Presidents, Baroness Sheila Hollins, has been elected as President of the British Medical Association for 2012-2013. She will succeed the current BMA President, Professor David Haslam.


  • Samaritans partnership working with mental health services

    In close consultation with the College, Samaritans are working on a Q&A document for psychiatrists and related professionals to help dispel any myths and provide a better understanding of how their valuable emotional support can complement existing patient service provision. For more information on Samaritans, and to arrange additional support for your patients, please email.



GMC consults on new child protection guidance





Managing women with mental health needs during and after pregnancy







Lancet essay writing competition







Women’s use of antidepressants


News from other organisations and the NHS



Dilnot report into funding of long-term care 

Andrew Dilnot, chair of the Commission on Funding of Care and Support, presented the commission’s findings to government on 4 July 2011. Dr Peter Connelly, chair of the College’s Faculty of the Psychiatry of Old Age, called on the Government to accept the report’s findings, and reduce the financial burden borne particularly by people with dementia and their families.


Government explains changes to modernisation plans

The Department of Health published its full response to the NHS Future Forum report on 20 June 2011. NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson has also written to all NHS, local government and social care leaders setting out new transition arrangements.


Managing women with mental health needs during and after pregnancy

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has published a new Good Practice paper, Management of Women with Mental Health Issues during Pregnancy and the Postnatal Period. It highlights the role of maternity services in the early identification of high-risk women and assessment of current illness, and describes principles of service organisation for health providers to meet these needs.  


Lancet essay writing competition

The Lancet is inviting professionals and students from any health-related specialty to enter The Wakley Prize 2011. Essays should be no longer than 2,000 words about a topic of importance to health, and must be submitted by 11 October 2011.  


Women’s use of antidepressants

Campaign group Platform 51 claims girls and women are being let down by the way antidepressants are being used to treat mental health problems. They commissioned a survey showing a third of women have taken antidepressants at some point in their lives, and a quarter have been on antidepressants for more than 10 years. They are calling on the Government to commission a review into their use.


Campaign against disability hate crime

Mencap launched a three-year campaign against hate crime, called Stand by Me, during Learning Disability Week 2011 (20-26 June). The accompanying report, Don’t Stand By, surveyed 14 police services about how they respond to disability hate crime and makes 22 key recommendations.


Regulator announces learning disability review

The Care Quality Commission has committed to a programme of unannounced inspections of services for people with learning disabilities, following the Panorama investigation into Winterbourne View.


NHS financial performance update

The Department of Health has published a summary of the NHS financial position and performance for the fourth quarter January to March 2010/11.


Green Paper pathfinders

The Department of Education and Department of Health are seeking bids from prospective Green Paper pathfinders, following the publication of the Green Paper Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability. Bids should come from local area partnerships between local authorities and PCT clusters.



Psychotropic medication and the heart: Part 1




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