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

RCPsych in Wales update

This Month the RCPsych in Wales attended Congress where we met with the Devolved Nations to discuss policy priorities for the devolved administrations. Afterwards, the Division Chairs and Division Managers held their annual meeting and subsequent dinner.

Back in Wales, the College provided oral evidence to the Health, Social Care and Sports Committee on perinatal mental health. Dr Elin Roberts, our Policy Trainee Representative had already attended a workshop with the Committee Members and a number of patients and their partners to discuss personal stories before the Committee convened to hear evidence.

We attended the launch of the HSCS Committee’s report into Medical Recruitment. The report was very well received and can serve to strengthen a College campaign to promote psychiatry as a profession in Wales. We have sent copies to the Communications and Campaigns team and will meet with them shortly to discuss how to take advantage of the Assembly’s recommendations to improve recruitment into Wales.

We have met with colleagues from other Royal Colleges regarding the Government’s announcement to introduce legislation on minimum unit pricing for alcohol and on the removal of ‘defence of reasonable punishment’ of children. We mentioned these developments to the Policy and Public Affairs Committee and have promised to keep them informed as the Bills progress through the Assembly.

We attended the Health Education Improvement Wales (HEIW – similar to HEE) workshop to feed into their workplan before the organisation is created next April. HEIW will replace the Deanery and will consolidate workforce and training of all health professionals under one umbrella. The College is keen to continue to take part in the on-going discussions.

We circulated a survey to over 1,000 GPs in Wales to collect data on GP training in mental health. We have received over 140 responses and can now begin analysing the data and deciding on our next steps. Initial results show that over 80% would like to receive more training on mental health conditions such as suicide and self harm, depression, anxiety and dementia.

We attended an annual Together for Children and Young People Conference and heard from Professor Dame Sue Bailey, who continues to provide support to Welsh Government on redesigning and strengthening CAMHS in Wales. The day was a good networking opportunity with the stakeholders that include nhs, social workers, third sector and Welsh Government. It was also a way to learn how much the programme has, and plans to achieve. The Assembly has just announced an inquiry into this Programme so we shall be busy working on this over the summer.

The College in Wales forms part of the Health and Social Care Policy Forum and we attended a sub-group to discuss how to add value to the current Parliamentary Style Review, Chaired by ex-CMO Dr Ruth Hussey. The group agreed to publish a four page briefing paper for Assembly Members prior to the publication of the Review’s Interim Report. The interim report has since been published and will be discussed in plenary at the Senedd on 20 July. The College met separately with Dr Hussey in mid June to outline our key priorities in our written submission to the Panel, to highlight the work we are already undertaking on integration, and to offer our support where needed.

We attended a Dementia Cross Party Group along with our Policy Trainee Attachment, Dr Yusuf Rangoonwala. It was a popular event so standing room only. Marie Curie gave a talk on palliative care, which fits in with the RCGP Wales and Academy work plan on end of life care, which the College has been invited to take part in.

The RCPsych in Wales attended one of a series of Wales-wide engagement workshops hosted by Social Care Wales looking at their five year strategic plan ‘Care and Support at Home in Wales 2017 – 2022’.  The event was attended by professionals from all areas of Health and Social Care and we were asked to contribute ideas to the strategy’s draft delivery plan.  Our main contribution centred around recruitment and retention of staff,  and we stressed the importance of an appropriately skilled, registered and valued workforce in order to deliver high quality care and services in the Community.  We look forward to further involvement when the delivery plan has been drafted.

The Recruitment and Retention Think Tank took place this month where the draft 12 month strategy for Wales was discussed. The main focus of the strategy is to improve rates of recruitment into Core Psychiatry posts across Wales and to expanding the number of Foundation doctor Psychiatry placements.  There was also discussion about introducing an ‘F3’ grade in Wales.  We were given an update of the current picture of recruitment and training in Wales by the Interim Vice Dean at Wales Deanery and colleagues from across Wales.  It was encouraging to see engagement from Trainees and medical students at the meeting.  The draft strategy will now go out to membership consultation and then to the Executive Committee in September for final approval.   

The Faculty of Medical Psychotherapy, RCPsych in Wales held its first ever Balint Study day in early July.  Over 30 members and non- members of varying career grades attended and enjoyed group sessions with accredited balint leaders from across the UK.  Early feedback has been very good and it is hoped that Balint activity will increase in Wales over the coming years.  Trainee engagement is particularly high in this area.’

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