I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to update my
blog last week. Dr Clare Gerada, chairman of the Royal College of
General Practitioners, is trying to persuade me to start using
Facebook and Twitter – but I think I need to master the art of
Last Tuesday, I had a productive and
informative with the Children’s Commissioner
for England, Dr Maggie Atkinson. Now, and in the past, the
Commissioner’s team has taken a close interest in the care and
treatment of young people in psychiatric inpatient services and
those detained in custody. One of the team’s new initiatives
includes exploring by formal inquiry the extent of, and
inequalities in, school exclusions.
Those of us working with both vulnerable and
offending groups know that school exclusion is a significant factor
in later antisocial behaviour, and that those who are excluded have
not always had their mental health needs identified. The
Commissioner and her team also plan to hold an inquiry into
gang-related sexual exploitation and abuse of children and young
people. For us as psychiatrists, we need to be alert to this
possibility when we see young people in our clinics, or when we are
called to see them in A&E.
On Wednesday, I attended a meeting of the
Consultative Council (JMCC). The JMCC brings together the
organisations that represent the medical profession in the UK, and
comprises representatives from the Academy of Medical Royal
Colleges, the BMA, the British Dental Association, the Conference
of Postgraduate Medical Deans and the Medical Schools Council.
Our former President and my predecessor,
Professor Dinesh Bhugra, has just been elected as the new chair of
this group. JMCC meets four times a year, and it provides a
constructive forum in which members can meet, debate and unite on
the issues that affect the practice of medicine and the delivery of
healthcare in the UK.
I finished the week with a trip to Darlington,
where our Northern and Yorkshire Division were holding their Autumn
Conference and AGM at Darlington Football Club. I was given a very
warm welcome by the Division who, through their Academic Secretary
Professor Simon Gilbody, had organised an excellent academic
programme on bipolar disorder. It was good to see so many trainee
doctors and medical students attending the meeting.
I really value the opportunity to get out to
the Divisions, and plan to do this as much as I can during the
first year of my Presidency. I’m always interested in hear the
views and concerns of members working around the country. Concerns
expressed by the Northern and Yorkshire Division included
recruitment into psychiatry, continuity of care for patients, and
the implications of “functional splits” in services.
I spent the weekend in Manchester, enjoying
the sunshine and a barbecue. Yesterday, I stayed in Manchester to
attend a meeting of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide
and Homicide. The College is a collaborating partner in this work.
Professor Louis Appleby, Director of the NCISH, and his team
outlined their plans as to how best to disseminate the lessons
learned from these inquiries.
This morning, I travelled down to London for
various meetings at the College – including one to finalise
arrangements for the 2011 RCPsych Awards Ceremony, due to be held
at the Royal Society of Medicine on 15 November. This is a real
highlight of the College calendar, and I’m very much looking
forward to the event. You can see who’s been shortlisted for this
year’s awards here.
I’ll post again later in the week.
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