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

College consultation on Guidance on Reasonable Workload for Consultants

Dr Laurence Mynors-Wallis, Registrar

Dr Laurence Mynors-Wallis, Registrar

“Consultants and Regional Advisors have requested that we produce up to date guidance setting out what are reasonable expectations of workload for Consultants, reflecting the increasing variety of posts that services are developing. The simple model of catchment area size is no longer applicable in many areas.


Clear message

Although it can be difficult to provide advice about workload, in the absence of such advice, some Psychiatrists feel under pressure to take on larger workloads or work in services in which they feel there is insufficient medical support. A very clear message from the patient and carer groups within the College is that they would like to have more and not less Consultant involvement in their care and would wish to have more time with their Consultant, both as inpatients and outpatients, in order to discuss the diagnosis and advantages and disadvantages of treatment options.


Setting sensible standards

The guidance should also be seen as the College setting standards and ground rules about what workforce is necessary to provide high quality services. Such standards are not yet being achieved in all places. The guidance is not an attempt to get Psychiatrists to work harder, but rather to ensure that at a time when services are under financial pressure, the College sets clear standards and expectations of Consultant workload. It will of course be up to providers of services to determine whether to follow national professional guidance, but clearly if they do not, this would need to be justified to local communities. The guidance does not seek to be a wish list but to be sensible standards which are implemented in some settings.


I would be grateful if you would read the document and email comments to me the Registrar by 6 June 2012.”




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