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

Start of the week

Monday, 23 April

Today started with a telephone conference with Department of Health officials about feedback received in the course of their Review of Events at Winterbourne View Private Hospital. Discussion was around a wide range of case scenarios, including whether and in what circumstances psychiatrists may have a conflict of interest. We had a very constructive discussion, but I was keen to point out how, especially in the new commissioning framework, these potential conflicts stretch across the whole of medicine and social care.

So, with key players both within and without the College, we will be taking some work forward to develop underlying principles for an ethical framework. Our key levers will be revalidated doctors in accredited services, and how we work with both the GMC and the CQC.

Over the weekend I had a good, but hard, two days at the UEMS (European Union of Medical Specialists) Council meeting. There has been real progress now across medicine, with at least some harmonisation of examinations looking like a reality. Psychiatry has to make up its mind about this, and we can’t, whatever our concerns, be left behind the rest of medicine. I will be taking this up with the European Psychiatric Association (EPA)  and European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (ESCAP). I will need your views on this, and in my next blog I will send you a summary of what the UEMS is doing and why it matters to those of us in the UK.

Meanwhile, work on parity of esteem for mental and physical health is progressing, and I would like to hear of any innovative projects you may be involved in.

In between all this, I’m still battling with my ongoing leaking roof. A 'surveyor' is now involved so I can hear cash registers going 'ching ching'. And today is my youngest grandon’s first day at nursery. He’s smiling, but it’s not an easy day for his mum!


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