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

January 2012

College news
Other news



Seasons Greetings from the Royal College of Psychiatrists College news



Message from the President: Season’s greetings

The last six months for myself as President, have passed very quickly. I want to wish you all the best for the holiday season. Whatever the challenges we all face in 2012, we can have a peaceful New Year, and continue to work, as I know each and every one of you do, to improve the quality of mental health services for our users and carers.

Invited Review Mechanism








Examination paper writing panels
















Medfest 2012







Expert Psychiatric Evidence







RCPsych Annual Review 2011
  • Enewsletter polls: your views wanted

    Results of last month’s poll:

    • Do you think too many psychiatrists are being referred to the General Medical Council and the National Clinical Assessment Service? 60% agreed vs. 40% disagreed.


    This month's poll:



  • College vacancies

    Appointment of an Associate-Registrar for Revalidation

    A vacancy has arisen for a new Associate-Registrar. The post is voluntary and the appointee should expect, with the agreement of his/her employer, to spend an average of 1 p.a./session per week. Associate-Registrars are Trustees of the College and full members of the Council. They are also expected to attend the Education, Training and Standards Committee. The primary role will be to lead and develop College revalidation and appraisal guidance and support. The post will appeal to consultant psychiatrists in any specialty who have an interest in, and commitment to, the process of Revalidation and ensuring we meet the highest standards. Any College member who would like to be considered for this post should submit a CV and a statement [no more than one A4 side] indicating expertise and interest in this area of work to the Registrar, Dr Laurence Mynors-Wallis. Closing date: 5pm on 20 January 2012.

    New: Invited Review Mechanism

    We are seeking review teams to assist us in developing the Invited Review Mechanism. For the past ten years the College has provided an External Clinical Advisory Service (ECAS) where a review team is invited by an NHS Trust or Independent hospital at the request of the Chief Executive or Medical Director to comment on, and prepare a report on the issues of concern which could be related to services, team functioning, or clinical practice. The new Invited Review Mechanism will replace ECAS and will be further developed by the Specialist Adviser for Remediation Services, Dr Pete Snowden.

    Examination Paper Writing Panels – Senior Trainee vacancies

    We wish to appoint Senior Trainees (SpR in at least 2nd year of training or ST5-6) to join the Examination Paper Writing Panels. A maximum of two Senior Trainee panel members will be appointed per panel. The MRCPsych Examinations consists of three written papers (Paper 1, 2 & 3) and a Clinical Assessment of Skills and Competencies examination. Paper 3 is divided between two separate panels, responsible for the Critical Review and Clinical Topics components respectively. They are responsible for producing questions for the examinations question bank, from which the questions are selected for the examination papers. The panels meet after the examination to review statistics. An application form and associated documents can be obtained from Dawn Marshall-Fannon. Closing date for applications: 17 February 2012; interviews to be held in April 2012.

    Specialist Adviser for Social Care (England & Wales)

    The College wishes to appoint a Specialist Adviser and Coordinator for Social Care with expertise in either Rehabilitation, General and Community, Old Age, Liaison, Child and Adolescent or Learning Disability Psychiatry to provide leadership and advice on social care (England and Wales) in their area of specialism and to co-ordinate/secure such advice from identified social care link members for each of the other Faculties and Sections of the College. For a job description, contact Claire Churchill. Closing date for applications 20 January 2012, with interviews in February 2012.



  • MedFest 2012: UK's only national Medical Film Festival

    In 2011, the Psychiatric Trainees Committee established ‘Medfest’, the UKs first national medical film festival. Its purpose is to encourage medical students to choose a career in psychiatry. MedFest is running again at 16 university venues, throughout February/March 2012, supported by the RCPsych Public Education Committee. This year’s theme is HealthScreen: Understanding Illness through Film. We aim to provoke debate on the social, political and ethical implications of depictions of health and illness on our screens, not only in the form of Hollywood film, but also public health campaigns and advertisements.



  • Payment by Results (PbR): the implications for mental health services

    Dr Bohdan Solomka, our Specialist Adviser on Payment by Results, writes about the implications of PbR for mental health services. “It is perhaps worth stating that PbR, in one form or another, will be implemented over the coming years. It is not going away; there is political will on all sides for an end to block contracts and to bring in a form of PbR in mental health.”



  • Mentoring

    Dr Pete Snowden on mentoring: “I have been appointed to a role in the College which has responsibility for developing mentoring. I am particularly interested in developing mentoring for new consultants. I am looking for ideas from the Membership as to how this can be embedded through College divisions. If you have any ideas and suggestions, contact me." Dr Pete Snowden, Specialist Adviser for Remediation Services.



  • College in the news  

    Significant improvements needed to care for people with dementia in hospital

    The first full report of the National Audit of Dementia has identified a need for significant improvements in hospital ward environments, staff training and the overall approach to care delivery for patients with dementia. Although the majority of wards meet basic safety requirements, the audit shows that many had not addressed simple measures that could lessen the distress caused to dementia patients by an unfamiliar and confusing hospital environment.


    Adopt a book this Christmas as a gift to family, friends or colleagues. The College would like to thank members who have already donated generously towards the restoration of this invaluable collection of books on the early history of psychiatry. 36 books have been adopted since this scheme was established in 2007. A full list of books awaiting adoption is available on the website.

    New and improved member benefits

    • From January 2012, the full-text of Advances in Psychiatric Treatment will be available to all members free online as part of their annual RCPsych membership. Furthermore, the cost of the print version of the journal drops to £50 per year.
    • From January 2012, members will be able to subscribe to CPD Online for £45 + VAT. The number of CPD hours that you can use CPD Online to contribute to your CPD requirements each year has increased from 10 to 25. Members who already subscribe will receive automatically adjusted renewal notices. Members can access the online version of Evidence-based Mental Health for free through the members’ only area. Print copies are just £10 per year for all four issues.





  • RCPsych Annual Review 2011

    This year’s Annual Review showcases some of the activities pursued by the Royal College of Psychiatrists during 2011.



Schizophrenia Commission: call for evidence



  • Schizophrenia Commission: call for evidence  

    The commission launched by Rethink Mental Illness, chaired by Professor Sir Robin Murray, is tasked with:

    1. Scoping the current state of care, support and quality of life for individuals with schizophrenia and their families.
    2. Taking note of relevant research to inform our understanding of the causes, concepts, care and support for individuals with schizophrenia and their families.
    3. Making an assessment of the economic and other societal impact of the schizophrenia.
    4. Reviewing public attitudes to the condition and how these impact on outcomes experienced by individuals with schizophrenia and their families.
    5. Identifying the priority actions so that people with schizophrenia can fulfill their full potential through improved outcomes for individuals and their families now and in the future.

    Any comments should be sent to Claire Churchill by 15 February 2012.



Induced abortion and mental health: a systematic review







Transforming sickness support will boost productivity and the economy: Commentary from Dr Jed Boardman







NICE Psychosis and Schizophrenia in adults Development Group







Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine







NHS Confederation: Social media and mental health services


News from other organisations and the NHS



Induced abortion and mental health: a systematic review

A systematic review looking at induced abortion and mental health has been published, developed for the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, funded by the Department of Health. The purpose of the review was to examine the relationship between induced abortion and mental health problems. It concluded that having an abortion does not increase the risk of mental health problems. The best current evidence suggests that it makes no difference to a woman’s mental health whether she chooses to have an abortion or to continue with the pregnancy. Dr Kate Guthrie, RCOG spokesperson, said: “We welcome this new review which includes the latest evidence. The RCOG recently revised its own guidelines on the care of women requesting induced abortion, which reflected the above findings.


Transforming sickness support will boost productivity and the economy


NHS Evidence: recruiting External Advisers

NHS Evidence, the web-based portal to clinical and non clinical evidence and best practice provided by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, is seeking to recruit new External Advisers for its accreditation scheme. The accreditation programme recognises sources of guidance with robust processes for guideline production. The aim being to give users confidence in the information available and to help drive up standards. A key step in the accreditation process is external adviser’s independent scrutiny of our own technical assessment of guideline production processes. The decision to accredit a guidance producer is then made by an independent Accreditation Advisory Committee, based on our technical assessment, external adviser input and feedback from the guidance producer. If you have expertise in guidance development and are interested in applying please email for further information or go to the website. 




Home Office - Missing children and adults: a cross Government strategy

The Home Office has published a report Missing children and adults: a cross Government strategy to provide better protection and support for missing people and their families. The report outlines the roles and responsibilities for government and local agencies including police, local authorities and health services in tackling the issue.


Parliamentary update

Lords Second Reading - Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill 

The Government has supported the Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill. The Bill aims to repeal four areas of discrimination against mental health in UK laws and regulations. These relate to MPs, School Governors, Jurors, and Company Directors.


Department of Health

  • Personal Health Budgets Learning Network - NHS operating framework 2012/13
  • Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and joint health and wellbeing strategies explained
  • New institute to help narrow the health gap
  • Report from the Forensic & Challenging Behaviour Product Review Sub-Group
  • Health Research Authority
  • 60 new outcomes targets for NHS
  • NHS publish latest version of Mental Health Minimum Dataset


Care Quality Commission: review of services for people with learning disabilities

  • Mental Health Act Annual Report 2010/11

    The second annual report on the use of the Mental Health Act covers findings from April 2010 to March 2011 and includes information about the use of the Act and the areas where the CQC believes improvement is needed.

  • Review of services for people with learning disabilities

    The CQC has published the first of five reports from a programme of 150 unannounced inspections of hospitals and care homes that look after people with learning disabilities.


Integrated care between health and social services can improve

An Audit Commission briefing has found significant differences in the types of care received by people aged 65 and over across the country. It shows that despite the strong focus for many years on improving joint working across the NHS and social care, progress remains patchy. 


Report sheds light on violence and trauma in young people's lives

Young people convicted of serious acts of violence during their childhoods talk about their experiences of trauma and violence in a new report from the Centre for Crime and Justice. My Story: Young people talk about trauma and violence in their lives offers a unique insight into the kind of severe, multiple and prolonged trauma experienced by many who while still children go on to perpetrate serious, violent acts


Better Mental Health in a Bigger Society?

A report from the Mental Health Providers Forum explores and identifies the overlaps between Big Society ideas and changes that many people with mental health difficulties have long argued for.


News from the General Medical Council


2012 Hippocrates Awards for Poetry and Medicine

Entries are now open for the 2012 Hippocrates Prize for poetry and medicine for unpublished poems in English. There are two categories: one for UK health professionals, the other an open international category.  With a 1st prize for the winning poem in each category of £5,000, there is also a 2nd prize of £1,000, 3rd prize of £500, and 20 commendations each of £50. The deadline for entries is 31 January 2012, awards to be presented at the Wellcome Collection in London on 12 May 2012. 


NHS Confederation: Social media and mental health services

Joining in the conversation - social media and mental health services looks at social media innovations underway in healthcare as a whole and highlights case studies from Mental Health Network member organisations. 


World Psychiatric Association: New report on antidepressants for acute depression

An international group of clinicians have produced an executive report for the WPA which looks at how well antidepressants work in the acute treatment of depression. 


World Association of Cultural Psychiatry (WACP): Trainee Day 2012

World Association of Cultural Psychiatry Conference Trainee Day 2012 will be held at Queen Mary, University of London on 7 March 2012. The WACP 2012 Trainee day will include a ‘Trainee Research Competition’. Delegates are invited to submit poster abstracts of no more than 250 words by 16 January 2012. All posters will be displayed on the day and during the main conference. The best abstracts, including those that have been submitted through the conference registration page will be selected for oral presentation in the Trainee Research Competition.



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