Each year we see January as a fresh start and make resolutions
to improve ourselves. These usually include taking more exercise
and eating less in an attempt to undo the damage done by
This year please remember your mental health as well as your
physical. Psychiatry can be stressful so look after yourself and be
sure that you set aside some time for relaxation. I can hear those
who know me sniggering but I’m determined to set a good example
(also, for the record, Twitter isn’t work).
My resolutions for 2018 include working on three major areas
with the College:
Huge amounts of energy already go into recruitment. I’m
delighted to say that we have had the highest number of applicants
ever for core training this year, but we can’t afford to rest on
our laurels and will keep on with the
We need to make sure that as many medical students and
Foundation doctors experience Psychiatry as possible so that they
see what a great career it is.
While we are busy telling the outside world how interesting it
is to train as a psychiatrist, we also need to work to make sure
that trainees, specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors and
consultants stay in the profession.
The College is holding a workshop with Health Education England
at the end of the month to firm up arrangements for the
implementation of the workforce plan that came out last summer.
When I speak to trainees and members in different parts of the
UK the same themes come through repeatedly.
Trainees want to be treated with consideration. This means
thought being given to where they live when placements are
allocated, access to food and rest when on call and ability to take
leave for important events when they give reasonable notice. Or in
other words, to be
valued (PDF) as the Psychiatric
Trainees’ Committee has set out.
Fortunately, our trainees already report being treated better
than most specialities, via the
GMC national training survey, but there is still room
Consultants and SAS doctors describe a lack of resources but
also a blame culture and excessive bureaucracy. These issues must
be tackled to improve morale and increase retention.
Mental Health Act review
The College is about to submit evidence for the review of the
Mental Health Act 1983. This will feed into the interim report of
the review, expected to be published in spring this year, and will
be posted on our website soon if you want to read it.
The whole of the morning of the January Council meeting was
devoted to discussing key areas relating to the review.
Some very useful points were made and we came to a consensus.
The College will be working closely with the review team and you
can continue to feed in your opinions:
We will keep you informed as the Review progresses.
All of us at the College wish you a very Happy New Year.
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