Tuesday, 31 July
So far so good with my travlling to and across
London. And what a first few days it has been at the Olympics –
I’ve been taking the opportunity to watch as much as I can.
Gradually, the reality of how services will be
commissioned, and where mental health will sit within this, is
unfolding. So what will some of the key determining factors be?
A few days ago, the NHS Commissioning Board
published a new document called
The Way Forward: Strategic Clinical Networks, in which it
sets out its plan for a small number of national networks to
improve health services for specific patient groups or conditions.
The report describes clinical networks as “and NHS success story”
and states that they want to build on their success which states
that they want to build on the success of networks. The first
strategic clinical networks will be established and supported from
2013. These are: cancer; cardiovascular disease (incorporating
cardiac, stroke, diabetes and renal disease); maternity and
children; and mental health, dementia and neurological
So there will be lots of opportunities to work in partnership with
the rest of medicine, and play a pivotal role in the children and
maternity clinical network – given the strength of the
evidence-base in mental health for prevention.
The real challenge for us will be improving
the physical of our service users. With that in mind, watch out for
a new book on this issue from RCPsych Publications, due out in
September/October. I know that
Essentials of Physical Health in Psychiatry, edited by
psychiatrist Irene Cormac and physician David Gray, will be a must
Also out this week was a good paper from the
Preparing for the Francis Report: How to assure quality in the
NHS. With the Public Inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire
NHS Foundation Trust due to report in the autumn, this is a very
timely paper exploring how the system of quality assurance
including regulation needs to evolve.
It is important that we make sure that
all parts of the College are working together on quality, and that
we read across to each other so that our messages and actions are
clear, consistent and sustainable. As leaders in mental health, we
have to have a cohesive vision and action plan that can play out at
all levels, and across all transitions. That means involving every
members across their roles in their own services, and the roles
they play within the College. At the heart of this is being able to
speak out when things are wrong, and being heard when we have good
ideas about improving services.
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