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

Welcome to the blog

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Welcome to my new Presidential blog. Through this blog, I hope to keep you updated on key issues at the College - and give you a flavour of some of the work I do as your President. All the work I do is centred around promoting the role, purpose and value of doctors who are psychiatrists. Through working with other mental health professionals and the voluntary sector, and through trying to shape policy across governments, I hope to improve services for those with mental illness.

I met recently with leaders in psychology, social work, occupational therapy and nursing. We discussed many topics, but one that emerged was what more we could be doing to ensure that our in-patients had not only improved mental health, but good physical health. So we'll be starting a project to look at this. I suspect many of you will already be involved in local intiatives, and I would love to hear from you (there's a comment box below).

I started this week with a meeting with the Communications and Policy department, to update them on my priorities over the next three years. It is usual for RCPsych Presidents to have a campaign, and I am keen to keep up this tradition by implementing a campaign focusing on the needs of vulnerable groups. A proposal will go to the College’s Public Education Committee, our Service User Recovery Forum and our Carers’ Forum for their input, before going to College Council.

Our key focus must be on recruitment, retention and career progression. Over the last few years, there have been lots of individual threads of work going on within the College. Last month, I drew together all the key players who have been doing this work, so we can discuss how to pull these threads together and how we can get the most from the work.

Dr Tom Brown, our recently-appointed Associate Registrar for Recruitment, will be co-ordinating this work. He has a huge number of ideas, which he will be presenting to Divisional and Faculty chairs at the next Council meeting on 16 September.

Personally, I think it is vital that we improve all young doctors’ mental health awareness and skills, and I would like to see GPs gaining more experience of psychiatry as part of their training. We must also show medical students what fantastic career opportunities there are within the specialty, and ensure they have positive exposure to psychiatry.

It’s rare for the President’s diary to have a spare moment and my PA at the College, Jo Davies, does a fantastic job squeezing everything in. Wednesday will start with a phone conversation with Professor Peter Woodruff, chair of our Academic Faculty. I am committed to keeping in close contact with Faculties, Sections and Special Interest Groups, so they can update me on their work and their priorities. This chat will be followed by meetings with the Mental Health Foundation and Centre for Sustainable Policy.

On Thursday, Kent, Surrey and Sussex Deanery’s School of Psychiatry will be holding their Training and Induction Day for 40 trainees in Belgrave Square. The session will provide important information on the Psychiatry training programme, the use of electronic logbooks and an opportunity to meet the key players in the Deanery and College. I’m looking forward to speaking at the event, and trainees will enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the College building at the end of the day.

I’ll finish off my week by focusing on international affairs, with a global mental health meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine and a meeting of the College’s International Advisory Committee. Then it’s back up to Manchester for the weekend.



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Re: Welcome to the blog
I am very optimistic about the future of our profession especially with the promising new leadership of Dr. Bailey. As a psychiatric trainee, I hope you will be able to look into improving the working conditions of junior doctors and most importantly to review the current format of the membership exams as currently there is no question bank and new themes are emerging, making it harder for trainee to know what is expected from them. Special emphasis should be put as well on reviewing the CASC exam format as many trainees feel that currently neither the venues nor the format is acceptable. Many thanks.
Re: Welcome to the blog
Congratulations!Great to see your blog.
And meeting you at the WPA,Buenos Aires
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