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

Life after the Health and Social Care Bill

Blog, 30.03.12

First, sorry for the fairly long silence. I have not blogged much recently because I eventually had to give in to this virus and/or flu that’s been going around. My three days in bed made me realise what it can be like if you do have a chronic illness and associated immobility, but it was also a good time to reflect.

While we now have the Health and Social Care Bill as an Act, life just goes on at a pace. I attended a meeting with other College Presidents and Commissioning Leads, organised by Cathy McLean, who presented their vision for what the newly commissioned health services might be like in the future, and how the Medical Royal Colleges could play their active part in this. 

There is going to have to be an incredible amount of work done in a very short period of time, with many questions still left unanswered in a time of transition.  However, I really do think that as a College and as a members of the Medical Academy of Royal Colleges, we have to seize each and every opportunity. Even where we see adversity, we have to try and take advantage from it. This is the line I am taking. 

I also had a very constructive meeting with the Presidents. We are going to support the concept of the Academy having a Clinical Commissioning Support and Advisory Unit.  Clearly there is a lot of business that each College needs to do around commissioning at every level and at every stage of the pathway for users and carers, but there are common themes. We need to work to together across medicine and this is what we are planning to do.

I had a really inspiring meeting with the Chair of the Public Health Faculty, Lindsey Davies.  We know that public health is going to play a key part in the future delivery of health and social care services.  The new leaders in public health will be embedded in Local Health and Wellbeing Boards, working with local councils. I just hope that some innovative Mental Health Trusts will decide that they actually need a public health consultant in their midst, to work in the Trust at least part-time.  I think this will be a thoroughly good idea and a good way of integrating Mental Health Trusts into local community-based care and treatments.

I had an equally inspiring meeting with the Chair of the Liaison Faculty, Paul Gill, and Prof Michael Sharpe about their views on liaison psychiatry. Liaison Psychiatry should not be about dealing with acute conditions in hospital,  but should be embedded into integrated care across the patient’s pathway for both medically unexplained symptoms and long-term conditions. Paul will be putting a paper together with Michael which will be presented to the next Council meeting. I am looking forward to enabling and supporting this work.

I also attended a BMA dinner where Sheila Hollins, our previous President, was there as the successor to Sir Michael Marmot. It will be great to have somebody with Sheila’s knowledge of mental health, learning disability, and policy and parliamentary affairs, working with the BMA and hopefully pushing the cause.. The BMA's Psychiatric Sub-committee of Mental Health have also been very supportive of our work.


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