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

RCPsych eNewsletter February 2016

College news


Other news






Professor Sir Simon Wessely

Professor Sir Simon Wessely

College news

Update from the President

Junior Doctors - your feedback needed

The College has continuously called for a negotiated settlement to the dispute, and whilst we are pleased that this week’s has been called off, there still remains the possibility of a further strike on 10 February. For the moment I am in regular contact with those in Government and senior levels of the NHS, and via our Psychiatric Trainees' Committee, the Secretary of State has asked to meet with some of our psychiatric junior doctors to discuss the wider issues surrounding the work of junior doctors, which we have agreed to do once the current contract dispute is settled. But for now we want to hear more from you.





Independent Commission on Acute Adult Psychiatric Care






Clinical Excellence Awards 2016
Clinical Excellence Awards 2016













RCPsych: New Position Statements







MCQs in Psychiatry

New Publications: MCQs in Psychiatry




Posts for members
Jobs: Posts for Members







College in the Media
RCPsych: Media Centre
















RCPsych in Parliament
The College in Parliament




Dr Alasdair Macdonald
Wise Words: Dr Alasdair Macdonald



BJPsych: Kaleidoscope




This Month's Poll
Poll: your views wanted



This Month's Quiz
Quiz: Test your knowledge











Professor Joanna Bourke
Lecture Invitation: Professor Joanna Bourke




Baroness Hale
Conference: Baroness Hale






International Congress 2016
International Congress 2016


News from the College

Launch on 9 February of Independent Commission on Acute Adult Psychiatric Care

The Independent Commission, established by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, will launch its report and recommendations on 9 February at an event in Parliament. The Commission is chaired by Lord Nigel Crisp, former Chief Executive of the NHS in England and Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health. The Commission has gathered evidence from patients, carers, clinicians, practitioners and policy experts in preparing its findings. Its final report will make recommendations to providers, commissioners and government for upgrading inpatient psychiatric services across England and ensuring that anyone in need of inpatient psychiatric care has access to local, high quality, services.



Clinical Excellence Awards 2016 – College process open

The College has been informed by ACCEA that they have secured Ministerial clearance to run a 2016 round, and that they are hoping to open the round between mid-March and early April.  Working on these uncertain dates from ACCEA, the closing date for receiving College applications will be Thursday 24 March 2016.





Clear campaign to improve emergency mental health care in England

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has given its backing and support to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s CLEAR Campaign, which was launched on 28 January. The CLEAR campaign is a five point plan to improve emergency mental health care in England. The plan calls for the following five steps to be taken:
C   Co-location of Liaison Mental Health Services
L    Liaison Services 24/7
E    Education of all ED Staff
A    Adequate Access for Adolescents
R    Right Person to the Right Place of Safety

As highlighted by the Prime Minister in his speech on Life Chances on 11 January 2016, it is essential that high quality support is there for those who need it, when they need it.
Read more...



Two new Position Statements have been published

  1. 'Providing evidence-based psychological therapies to people with long-term conditions and/or medically unexplained symptoms' (joint with RCGP, BPS and RCP).
  2. Updated 'Guidance for office accommodation and administrative support for consultant posts' (replaces similar guidance published last year).



Choosing Wisely

The College is shortly to publish its top-5 choosing wisely don’t do’s list. As a result of a request from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in 2015, the College started a Choosing Wisely campaign. This involved creating a top 5 list of tests or interventions used in psychiatry that we, as the representative body of UK psychiatrists, thought were unnecessary or potentially harmful to patients.



New from Publications: MCQs in Psychiatry for Medical Students – by John Lally and John Tully

An essential text for self-testing, this consists of a collection of multiple choice questions (MCQs) and extended matching item (EMI) questions, covering all areas of psychiatry, designed to help medical students to revise for and optimise their performance in undergraduate exams. MCQs are the ‘best of five’ style and get progressively harder within each chapter. Answers are given with detailed explanations, plus references to core texts and suggestions for further reading.



College posts and external opportunities for members

  • The General Medical Council: Medical Case Examiner post
    The GMC is recruiting for a Medical Case Examiner post (not an associate role), based in their Manchester office. This is a permanent, part-time role, 2 – 3 days a week. The person will join a team of medical and lay case examiners, having a senior and highly responsible role that is central to the GMC’s fitness to practise procedures. The GMC requires qualified and currently registered medical professionals with a licence to practise, and to maintain clinical commitments outside the GMC. It is based in Manchester, with some training time possible in London and the post may move to predominantly home-based during the course of 2016. The closing date is 7 February 2016. Click here for more information and to apply or call the GMC recruitment line on 0161 923 6273.


College in the media

Throughout January the college had good coverage in the national and regional media, providing commentary about work life balance, how flexible working hours can make one unwell, and the launch of a Commission to improve Children and Young People’s Mental Health. Here is a selection:


Royal College of Psychiatrists' month in politics

It has been a busy time in parliament with the Prime Minister making a speech tackling tackling the mental health taboo, and also committing funds for different areas of mental health.  Plus ‘Transparency Day’ just before Christmas where a number of documents were released that are of interest to the College. 



Wise Words: A Conversation with Dr Alasdair Macdonald

Wise Words is a new feature exclusive to the e-newsletter. We will be speaking to a range of retired psychiatrists about their career experiences, their retired life and any insights that they may have for those of us who are starting our careers. This month I spoke to Dr Alasdair Macdonald who retired in 2001. He worked as a consultant psychiatrist in the NHS for 35 years and since his retirement has continued to develop his interest and expertise in solution-focused brief therapy.


February’s Kaleidoscope column in the British Journal of Psychiatry

This month’s column asks why you gossip. Oh yes you do. Don’t worry too much, it’s universal, and some interesting new research has shown that it would actually appear to enhance cooperation within society. We exploit this chin-wagging propensity by acting more generously when we perceive that those with whom we’re demonstrating our largesse might pass this information on to others with whom we’ll later interact. Crucially, it is reputational concern that drives this behaviour, rather than any expected explicit benefits. So when you do gossip, as you will, you might actually be being played by others who – consciously or otherwise – want you to do this. Nevertheless, although that is science talking, please don’t send your line-manager to us if you’re caught.



This Month's poll: your views wanted

The administrative and physical separation of mental health trusts from physical health trusts reinforces the stigma of being mentally ill.
Vote now...



Result of last month’s poll

Global mental health is relevant to my practice

76% agreed, 20% disagreed; and 4% had no opinion



Win a College mug in our monthly quiz

All questions true or false; full answers will be in February’s Kaleidoscope column in the BJPsych.

  1. Data on young adolescents with callous unemotional traits has shown that supportive foster care reduces these attributes, but far less so in boys than girls.
  2. Bright light treatment has been shown to be therapeutic in blind individuals with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
  3. Individuals with intuitive cognitive styles are inherently more susceptible to what has been labelled “pseudo-profound rubbish” – the type of waffley “inspirational” nonsense often posted on social media websites.

Please enter your name and email address along with the questions you answered as true. Try the quiz...



Answers to last month's quiz - how well did you do?

Congratulations to Eugene Wongs, Franncesca Brufani and Mumtaz Ahmad for winning last month’s Festive Bumper  quiz.  Click here for the full list of answers to the bumper quiz.




RCPsych Events

Invitation from the College President Professor Sir Simon Wessely FRCPsych to attend a lecture ‘Professional Students of Destruction: Psychiatry and War, 1914-1945’ by Professor Joanna Bourke, 6.30pm on Tuesday 1 March 2016

Professor Joanna Bourke will be giving a lecture entitled ‘Professional Students of Destruction: Psychiatry and War, 1914-1945’ on Tuesday 1 March 2016 at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 21 Prescot Street, London E1 8BB. To reserve your place, please email Thomas Kennedy at by Friday 26 February 2016. A synopsis for the lecture, and further details can be found here.



The Special Committee on Human Rights is pleased to announce that Baroness Hale will speak at its forthcoming half-day conference: The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) - The End of Psychiatric Practice as we know it? – Thursday 10 March 2016

The conference will take place at the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ London HQ on March 10th 2016 from approximately 12.30pm – 4.30pm. The attendance fee is £50, including lunch, and can be paid either in advance by cheque or on the day via cash/cheque. To book a place, please either write to or email Greg Smith (21 Prescot Street, London E1 8BB or including details of any dietary requirements. Please make cheques payable to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, writing ‘SCHR Conference 2016’ on the back.  The programme, and a ‘Questions and Answers’ document about the CRPD is available here.


RCPsych International Congress, ICC, London, 27-30 June 2016

With a projected attendance of over 2,500 delegates from more than 50 different countries, The International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists is one of the biggest and most prestigious mental health events in the world. The congress offers up to 22 CPD hours per delegate and over 100 hours of academic programming, including a lecture from the 2014 Nobel Prize Laureate in Medicine and sessions on psychopharmacology, neuropsychiatry, psychosis, treatment, clinical skills, management & leadership and new science among others. This congress will also deliver numerous networking opportunities and social events. Register by 29 February for low early bird rates at


RCPsych Conferences and Training

The College’s Centre for Advanced Learning and Conferences (CALC) provides a range of high quality, CPD approved training for psychiatrists and mental health professionals, including conferences, courses, in-house training and online resources.




Prime Minister's Speech
Prime Minister's Speech: Mental health taboo






















Care Quality Commission
Annual report: CQC Mental Health Act



Department of Health
DoH: NHS Mandate










Changing Minds Southbank
Toolkit: YoungMinds

News from other organisations and the NHS

Prime Minister’s speech tackling the mental health taboo

On 11 January, in an attempt to break the mental health taboo, the Prime Minister gave a speech on life chances and spoke about tackling mental illness by being open about it. The following commitments were made:

  • Invest £230 million so that at least 30,000 more women each year will have access to evidence-based, specialist mental health care during or after pregnancy.
  • An extra £250 million to deliver Core 24/7 psychiatric liaison services in 50% of A&E departments, and to ensure that all A&E departments have at least some liaison psychiatry provision even if it is not 24/7.
  • £400 million for crisis home resolution teams to deliver 24/7 treatment in communities and homes as a safe and effective alternative to hospitals.
  • Deliver a guarantee that more than half of patients with psychosis – the most serious cases – will be treated within 2 weeks.
  • More help for teenagers suffering from eating disorders like anorexia.

Read the College’s response to the Prime Minister’s announcement.



Date to look out for: launch by NHS England of the five year Mental Health Strategy

At the time of writing, we have received no fixed date from NHS England as to when it will be publishing its five year Mental Health strategy, but indications point to a launch date in mid-February. The College has been an active part of the Mental Health Taskforce, which was set up by NHS England and chaired by Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind alongside Jacqui Dyer, Expert by Experience. The Taskforce had responsibility for creating the new five-year national strategy for mental health to 2020, aligned to the Five Year Forward View, which will be published by NHS England.


CQC’s Mental Health Act annual report

CQC recently published Monitoring the Mental Health Act in 2014/15, its annual report into the use of the Mental Health Act. It found that many people are still not being properly involved in their care with wide variations in the standard of care they receive.


The 2016/17 NHS Mandate

At the end of December, the Department of Health published the NHS Mandate for 2016/17. The mandate helps set direction for the NHS and helps ensure the NHS is accountable to Parliament and the public. The mandate must be published each year, to ensure that NHS England’s objectives remain up to date. This mandate was produced following public consultation and, following lobbying by the RCPsych and others, includes a clear commitment to move towards parity of esteem for mental health. Read the Mandate.


The Independent review of deaths of people with a Learning Disability or Mental Health problem in contact with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Following the publication of the leaked document, NHS England, before Christmas, published the final independent review of the deaths of people with a learning disability or mental health problem who were in contact with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. The College response to the publication can be read here.



Changing Minds festival at the Southbank Centre, 6-7 February

The Southbank Centre in London is running a weekend festival, Changing Minds, focusing on mental health, exploring what the arts can do to open up a conversation about mental health, and to look at how it can help the healing process For example, can literature provide new ways of making sense of depression? Speakers, writers, scientists and artists will address major mental health issues head-on.



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