It’s already more than two months since I took up the post of
President. It has been a massively steep learning curve.
Having spent five years as Dean I thought that I knew the
College, but it turns out there was a lot going on that I
wasn’t aware of.
I received a challenge earlier this week sent from the
psychiatrist husband of a College committee member: “The College
does nothing for jobbing psychiatrists”.
Having been a jobbing psychiatrist myself for over 30 years, I
know why he said that.
On the front line
Out there on the front line it’s hard to know what the College
is up to and all you see is resources dwindling away and demands
and bureaucracy constantly increasing.
From my position now I can see exactly what the College is doing
and how great the influence is.
Simon Wessely achieved a huge amount as President and psychiatry
has been promised significantly more resources over the next few
What I have to do is to make sure those pledges are kept and
that money does actually reach the services on the ground.
It was good to find out that in Leeds where I work new money for
perinatal and liaison services has got through as
Something that has impressed me is the great esteem in which the
College is held.
As its representative people in positions of power are keen to
meet me and (apparently) willing to listen to what I have to say
and be guided by it.
I now know that the College does have a major influence at a
national level. This makes it really important that as many members
as possible are directly involved.
How you can get involved
Some 1,880 of you already have some type of a role within the
College and I hope this will grow. Please watch Posts for Members on the
We are currently advertising a number of interesting positions
including Chairs of two Specialty Advisory Committees, General
Adult and Child and Adolescent which oversee training in these
Involvement with training and trainees is fantastically
rewarding, please consider applying.
You will be aware that the Government has announced that the
Mental Health Act, covering England and Wales, will be reviewed in
some way. This is as a result of the steadily rising number of
detentions and the increased likelihood of being detained if you
These aren’t issues that can be ignored and I’m pleased that
they won’t be. It’s an area where I really do need to know what you
are thinking and how to represent you so we are running a
Members in England and Wales will have had a recent reminder
email from me about this, please do try to
complete it, I promise it only takes a few minutes. I
also promise I won’t be constantly bombarding you with annoying
surveys, it’s just that this is particularly important.
Our new campaign Choose Psychiatry
The final way in which I am asking for your help and involvement
is with our recruitment campaign.
Recruitment has a been a problem for years now with unfilled
core training posts each application round (although I’m hearing
that the quality is improving if not the quantity). We are
targeting doctors using social media so please share as much as
We hope the campaign will help but what will make the biggest
impact is you acting as role models.
Please forget the tedious computerised assessments and forms
that you have to complete and concentrate on what you love about
Make sure that the medical students and Foundation doctors with
you see how incredibly interesting the conditions that we deal with
are, and what a huge difference we can make to people’s lives if we
chose psychiatry as a career.
You can read more about the campaign in our article in this month’s
eNewsletter, which also explains how you can support
Subscribe to this post's comments using