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

House of Lords briefing

The start of another busy week. Some good news arising out of a steam of letters, sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Bahrain Embassy, by many members of the public and the health professions about the Bahrain doctors and nurses jailed for treating injured protesters. I received a letter back from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office today, saying what you may already know; that a decision was made on 6 October: The medical personnel currently imprisoned in Bahrain will now be re-tried in a civil court, and the National Safety Court was closed on 7 October.

Yesterday was a long, exciting and challenging day, as we had the opportunity to speak with a good mix of Peers from across the political spectrum in the House of Lords about the further amendments we would like to see to the Health and Social Care Bill.

This was a very good team effort and Chris Fitch, our Research Fellow, and William Pickering, our Public Affairs Manager, were there to advise and support. I want to thank Baroness Sheila Hollins for leading this initiative.

It was good that I was also able to go to another briefing in the House of Lords earlier that day, which was organised by the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges. This meant I could follow through key issues into our mental health meeting. Whatever the outcome, whether we succeed with some amendments or not, continuing to brief the Peers in the House of Lords is valuable, as it gives a voice and hearing to what we feel is important about delivery of mental health services for users and carers.

It was great that Clare Gerada from the Royal College of General Practitioners, in the meeting of the Academy, specifically raised her concerns around what is happening to addiction services. Speaking of which, I received a response from the letter I wrote to Anne Milton MP, about the demise of addiction services, which will go to Council and to the chair of the Addictions Faculty, Dr Owen Bowden-Jones.

I discovered yesterday that we do have supporters in the House of Lords, from acorss the political spectrum, who have great wisdom and are committed to the cause of the delivery of better mental health services and the protection and support of vulnerable people - particularly those with learning disability and children.

In the meantime, I thought you would like to know that my roof is still leaking, but I am now told: "There will be an inspection visit, when it stops raining"!

P.S. I live in Manchester


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