Tuesday, 15 November 2011
Last week, I travelled to Australia for
the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Forensic Mental Health
conference. It's really hard to take in the vastness of
Australia. For more than three hours flying over the country, all
you see is ‘red’ earth down below.
Together with clinical nurse specialist from
our community adolescent forensic team, I managed to visit and meet
with a wide range of professionals in Melbourne and Sydney who
dedicate themselves to the care and treatment of young people who
have mental illness and offend.
Understanding the challenges for indigenous
people in Australia was a sobering experience. I’m a trustee of a
charity called the International Institute on Special Needs
Offenders, and had previously met and learnt from indigenous
communities when attending conferences in Toronto and Kenya.
In Melbourne I met with Andrew Peters, Chief
Executive Officer and Company Secretary of the RANZCP, and in
Sydney I met with their chair of their Child and Adolescent
Faculty. We now have a number of clear ideas about shared
The challenges facing the profession in
Australia and New Zealand are similar to our own – particularly the
need to raise the profile of the profession. We now have scope to
increase joint working between the RCPsych and RANZCP, in addition
to our current shared CPD activities. The RANZCP President, Dr
Maria Tomasic, will be attending our International Congress in Liverpool next
Last week’s conference was a good opportunity
to meet with psychiatrists and nurses from the UK who had made the
leap to work and settle in Australia and New Zealand, and to see
them leading teams and innovating. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I also met with Dr David
Shiers, from the UK, and his colleagues from Sydney. We now have a
commitment to working together on an initiative to improve the
physical health of those with mental illness.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Dr Bob
Adler, Dr Scott Harden, Dr Claire Gaskin and all the staff at the
RANZCP for being so welcoming, and enabling us to see and learn so
much in a short time.
I’ve brought back many fond memories of
Australia. I also brought back a cuddly kangaroo, which my youngest
grandson has been grinning at. My older grandson was more impressed
that I travelled on Etihad Airways, the sponsors of Man City!
I’m very much looking forward to the RCPsych
Awards ceremony that takes place this afternoon, as well as meeting
colleagues from the South West Division later in the week. I’ll
blog about both these events soon.
Subscribe to this post's comments using