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

New membership survey

This week I will be surveying members to gauge your views on the Health and Social Care Bill in advance of the House of Lords Report Stage on 8 February.

From the outset of the Bill, the College has endeavoured to secure provisions that will ensure a parity of esteem between physical and mental health. This is important given that mental illness represents 23% of the disease burden1, but accounts for only 11% of the health budget2.

Equally, we have continued to work to bring about needed changes which are critical for high-quality patient care and postgraduate medical education.

A previous survey of members (October 2011) showed strong concerns that the practical consequences of the Bill may be entirely different from the principles which were originally set out3.

Whilst the original aims of the reforms are laudable (improving the quality of care through national and local accountability, better integration of health and social care,  involvement of clinicians in commissioning, and tackling inequalities) the question to be answered at this point in time is are there fundamental flaws in the Bill which could work against these?

We continue to have discussions with Government, other Royal Medical Colleges, and key stakeholders as to how we can have a lasting, rather than short-term impact, and to work to deliver high-quality patient care in the event of the Bill being halted, substantial amendments being made, or the Bill going through much as it is.

I would like to encourage you to respond to this survey to inform our discussions and our future policy direction.  A link to our relevant members is being sent out today (24 January 2012) via email.  If you have problems accessing the survey, please contact Chris Fitch.

1.   HM Government. (2011).  No health without mental health A cross-government mental health outcomes strategy for people of all ages.

2.   Department of Health (2009). Departmental Report 2009: The Health and Personal Social Services Programmes.

3.   RCPsych publishes results of Health and Social Care Bill survey


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