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

May 2011

College news
Other news



Alexander Mezey Prize College news



Presidential update

At the recent Membership Inauguration Ceremony in London on Friday 8 April 2011, the first Alexander Mezey Prize was presented to the international medical graduate practising in the UK who obtained the highest number of stations passed in the CASC and the highest pass mark in Paper 3, when completing the MRCPsych examination. Thirteen leading organisations have now come together to launch the Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health. This new body, which is co-chaired by this College and the Royal College of General Practitioners, aims to support the future development of mental health, learning disability, and public mental health commissioning.

Director of the College Centre for Quality Improvement









Specialist adviser in mental health law









Addictions (Substance Misuse) Psychiatrist required for the MRCPsych CASC Panel









Prestigious Lecture Series: two evening lectures announced









MedFest 2011


  • College vacancies

    Director of the College Centre for Quality Improvement

    We are looking for a Member or Fellow with experience in quality improvement and skills in quantitative, qualitative and health service research. The successful candidate will have a track record of generating income and securing grant funding, and will also have experience of developing projects with service users. The successful candidate should be able to demonstrate a commitment to working with others in the College (this includes the President and the other Officers, CEO, Publications, Communications and Policy and NCCMH departments) to get quality improvement, research and improved service user experience into the heart of psychiatry. The post holder will report to the President. The College wants to attract an outstanding candidate and will be flexible in the method of appointment. For further information, download the recruitment information pack containing the person specification and job description. Applications need to be received by 31 May 2011. Interviews will be held at the College headquarters in Belgrave Square on 21 June 2011.

    Specialist adviser in mental health law

    The College wishes to appoint a Specialist Adviser to provide leadership and advice on mental health law (England and Wales) and its impact on psychiatric practice. Key responsibilities will include liaison with the Chair of the Westminster Parliamentary Committee and providing support to the College Policy Unit in relation to amendments to, and implementation of, mental health law. The specialist adviser will also represent the College internally and externally in England, be an authority on all areas of the Mental Health Act (1983) and other relevant legislation, and liaise with other UK jurisdictions as necessary. For a full job description, contact Claire Churchill. Closing date for applications: 10 June 2011.

    Examination Paper Writing Panels – Senior Trainee vacancy

    The College wishes to appoint one Senior Trainee (SpR in at least 2nd year of training or ST5-6) to join the Critical Review Examination Paper Writing Panel. The MRCPsych Examinations consists of three written papers (Paper 1, 2 & 3) and a Clinical Assessment of Skills and Competencies (CASC) examination. Paper 3 is divided between two separate panels, responsible for the Critical Review and Clinical Topics components respectively.  The panels produce questions for the examinations question bank, from which questions are selected for the examination papers. The panels meet after the examination to review statistics. For further details, email Dawn Marshall-Fannon. Closing date: 3 June 2011. Interviews are due later in June.

    Addictions (Substance Misuse) Psychiatrist required for the MRCPsych CASC Panel

    The College wishes to appoint a member from the Addictions Faculty to join the panel responsible for writing stations used in the Clinical Assessment of Skills and Competencies (CASC) examination. The CASC Panel meets four times a year with each member expected to write, on average, eight stations per year outside of meeting times. The successful applicant would need to attend the CASC examination that takes place twice a year in Sheffield. For further details, contact Juliet Mayne



  • Prestigious Lecture Series: two evening lectures announced

    An evening with Stephen Clift: 7 June 2011 at 6.30 pm

    Stephen Clift, Research Director, Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, will be speaking about ‘Singing for Health’, a project for mental health service users.  This innovative community music project has involved over 100 people with a history of serious and enduring mental illness in regular singing, to promote wellbeing and health. ‘The Mustard Seed Singers’, a singing group established by a mental health service user and a musician, plays a key role and there is now a network of seven small community choirs in towns across East Kent


    An evening with Patrick Cockburn: 14 June 2011 at 6.30 pm

    Patrick Cockburn is an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent for the Financial Times and currently The Independent. He won the Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2009 for his articles on the Iraq War and his son’s schizophrenia. Patrick will talk about Henry's Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, a Father and Son's Story, the book he co-authored with his son Henry. The book covers the events leading to Henry’s diagnosis, extraordinary accounts of Henry's steep descent into mental illness, Henry's own account of his experiences, and Patrick's journey towards understanding the changes Henry’s illness has wrought.   

    Both events will be held 17 Belgrave Square, London SW1 and will be followed by a drinks reception. Places are limited to 50 for both events. All tickets will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Contact Nicola Boyce by 18 May.  In the subject bar of your email, please quote one of the following references: A. Clift lecture, B. Cockburn lecture, and C. Clift and Cockburn lectures.



  • Recent appointments

    Special advisor on PbR: Dr Bohdan Solomka

    “As Special advisor, I see my role as facilitating debate on PbR matters. So far, four areas have caught my attention:

    • Training: accurate assessment of mental health needs is the cornerstone of PbR.  Psychiatrists are best placed to ensure that assessments do not skew provision of care.
    • Psychiatrists’ roles; defining “what we actually do”. Care Packages specifically add up hours of “who does what” required to provide care to patient clusters.
    • Outcome measures: PbR will be used to incentivise certain pathways; we need to ensure these are designed on good outcome data rather than fashion or tradition.
    • Specialist fields: I’m a member of the DoH PbR Forensic subgroup, which has recognised difficulties with the 21-cluster tool. Alternatives are being piloted. I am also aware of similar concerns in CAMHS, LD and other fields.

    Please email with your views."



  • NICE Fellowship Profiles 2011

    Since 2010, NICE has developed a fellows and scholars programme that fosters professional development, creates a network of clinicians associated with NICE, recognises professional achievement and aims at improving clinical care locally, nationally and internationally.



  • Medfest 2011

    The National Medical Film Festival: Dr. Kamran Ahmed, ST6, General Adult Psychiatry, Vice-chair, Psychiatric Trainees Committee

    The College’s Psychiatric Trainees’ Committee is organising the first national medical film festival, ‘MedFest’, consisting of free events run by Psychsocs at universities around the country. There will be an event at each of the nine participating universities in May 2011, consisting of an evening of short film screenings relating to the festival theme, ‘The Image of Doctors’. Participating universities include Aberdeen, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, King’s College London School of Medicine, Manchester, St. George’s Medical School and UCL.



  • RCPsych Manifesto in Northern Ireland

    Northern Ireland goes to the polls next month with pundits predicting the first election that will be fought on policy issues rather than sectarian lines. The RCPsych in Northern Ireland has published its manifesto calling for investment in modern mental health services, commitment to single legislation for mental health and mental capacity, the introduction of a floor price for alcohol and a cross-government programme to promote mental well-being and to tackle stigma.



  • Have you adopted a book

    The Adopt-a-Book scheme aims to raise funds for the conservation and repair of the College’s antiquarian book collection. The collection consists of rare books dating as far back as the 15th century. It is an important source of information on the history of psychiatry, mental illness and learning disability. The appeal for donations is directed at members of the College, and anyone who is interested in restoring and conserving the collection to a condition suitable for its use by researchers and historians, and in its preservation as part of our national heritage.



Survey on the role of the GMC in CPD: Dr J S Bamrah, Director for CPD








Government launches NHS listening exercise and sets up NHS Future Forum



  • Survey on the role of the GMC in CPD: Dr J S Bamrah, Director for CPD  

    The GMC's Education Strategy 2011-2013 includes a commitment to review its role in relation to doctors' continuing CPD. As part of their professional standards and to meet the requirements of revalidation, doctors must stay up to date and be fit to practice throughout their careers. The GMC is exploring how to help doctors plan, carry-out and evaluate CPD relevant to their practice. As part of the review the GMC would like to get a snap-shot of how doctors use CPD and their views on the role the GMC should play in supporting doctors' CPD activities. Members are invited to take part in this survey.

  • GMC consultation on the future of fitness to practise adjudication

    Following the decision not to proceed with the establishment of the Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator, the GMC has been developing proposals to establish a new tribunal service within the GMC to oversee fitness to practise hearings involving doctors. You can also take part in an online version of the consultation and submit your response by registering with the consultation system, community people between now and 13 June.

  • Induced abortion and mental health

    A systematic review of the mental health impact of induced abortion has been commissioned by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, funded by the Department of Health. It is being carried out by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The review will examine the evidence on the impact of abortion upon women’s mental health. Comments are invited on the overall quality of the report, search strategies, data synthesis, and interpretation of the evidence. While the moral and ethical issues relating to induced abortion are important, they are not within the brief of this review. The consultation ends on 29 June 2011.

  • Government launches NHS listening exercise and sets up NHS Future Forum

    Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley recently launched the Government’s listening exercise on NHS modernisation. Andrew Lansley also announced that a new group of patient representatives, doctors and nurses will be brought together to listen and report back to Government. Chaired the former Royal College of General Practitioners Chairman, Steve Field, the new 'NHS Future Forum’ aims to provide a channel for the thoughts and opinions of patients and staff on the ground.



Academy of Medical Royal Colleges







Centre for Mental Health: Pathways to unlocking secure mental health







Economy fuelling depression rise







European Declaration for health professionals: Doctors of the World


Other news: government departments, NHS and other organisations



Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

Roles performed by Colleges to the benefit of the NHS

When the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges gave oral evidence to the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body Review of Clinical Excellence Awards, it stated that, the proposal from the Department of Health that work undertaken for Colleges should no longer be eligible for consideration for an award, was based on a profound misunderstanding of the nature of “College work”. The Academy is clear that the vast majority of this work is for the benefit of the wider NHS and not simply for the College or Faculty itself. The proposal from the Department is, therefore, invidious and has no rationale. A summary of the roles and activities performed by the Colleges and Faculties to the benefit of the NHS was produced for the Review Body.


New reports 

  • Detained patients give views on mental health tribunal process

    A new report, commissioned by the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council and the Care Quality Commission, Patients’ experiences of the First-tier Tribunal (Mental Health), describes the experiences of patients who appealed to a tribunal against their detention under the Mental Health Act. Patients have given information about their personal experiences of appearing before the First-tier Tribunal (Mental Health), formerly the Mental Health Review Tribunal. Information of this type has not been gathered before due to the practical difficulties in gaining access to mental health patients.

  • Centre for Mental Health: Pathways to unlocking secure mental health

    This report examines the extent to which pathways into, and through, secure mental health services can be improved through the different security levels and ensure a better flow between prison and secure services. It is based on a review of current secure service provision carried out by the Centre, and commissioned by the former National Mental Health Development Unit. It finds that secure mental health services vary widely across the country in terms of who they admit, and what support they provide. Most patients spend longer than a year in a secure hospital, and for those who are ready for discharge, a lack of community support is a common cause of bed blocking. 


£5 million to help mentally ill offenders

The creation of 100 "diversion sites" across England and Wales, as part of their plan to create a national liaison and diversion service by 2014, was recently announced by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.


New Department of Health publications


Other organisations


European Declaration for health professionals: Doctors of the World

The European Declaration was signed by over 140 health organisations and over 7000 health professionals and concerned citizens across Europe. Signatories in the UK included by the Royal Colleges of GPs, Obstetrics & Gynaecologists and Psychiatrists, as well as over 400 concerned individuals. The signed European Declaration was presented to the Hungarian Presidency on 22 March 2011 at the European Parliament. This event came after a significant and positive adoption of the ‘Resolution on Health Inequalities’ in the European Parliament which acknowledges that undocumented migrants should be given equitable access to healthcare. Doctors of the World are seeking medical volunteers to join Project: London, an advocacy project that provides information, advice and practical assistance to vulnerable people to help them access NHS and other services. We are keen to build up a network of sympathetic medical professionals to help our service users, if you are interested in getting involved then please email.




Brassed Off





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