College President Dr Adrian James has issued an unreserved apology for material RCPsych published promoting a Personality Disorder event in June.
Dr James said the promotional material was "totally inappropriate in language, tone and sentiment and disrespectful to patients - totally the opposite of the College's values".
The College has cancelled the event, and plans to put on a new event about Personality Disorder at a later date, with patient and carer representatives involved from planning through to delivery and post event review.
Dr James said:
"Yesterday we published promotional materials about a Personality Disorder event which was scheduled to take place in June.
"We entirely understand that this terrible mistake will have caused hurt and distress to many. We understand this is not good enough and for that we are very sorry. We want to do better.
"The wording used in the promotion was totally inappropriate in language, tone and sentiment and disrespectful to patients. I was totally appalled to see it, as it represents the opposite to the College's values, which we strive every day to uphold.
"We have urgently reviewed our process for creating promotional materials. All marketing materials will be thoroughly checked in future to make sure nothing like this can happen again.
"We have also cancelled this event. We are committed to providing the best care to patients with Personality Disorder and will be holding a new event later in the year. We will be involving patient and carer representatives in planning the event, through to delivery and post event review.
"We hugely value the support and advice provided by the patient and carer representatives who work with the College and I would like to apologise to those patient representatives for the content we published.
"We have of course removed it from our website, along with all the information about the event."
The RCPsych's College Report about Personality Disorder, published in 2018, emphasises the importance of compassion, curiosity and empathy when working with patients, stating:
"All staff should strive to demonstrate the principles of compassion, curiosity and empathy when working with people with personality disorder and challenge stigma by promoting good attitudes towards people with personality disorder."
Dr James added:
"The promotional materials about this event fell woefully short of meeting these standards.
"This was not an event developed by a specific College Faculty and I take full responsibility for what has happened."
In addition to introducing a new process for reviewing marketing materials, and involving patient and carer representatives in the planning of a new Personality Disorders event, the College plans to review the way co-production happens around member training and education - including enabling those who take a more critical standpoint to play a role.
Dr James concluded:
“The College has been involving patient and carer representatives in our work more and more. All patients are entitled to be treated with respect and compassion and clinicians are responsible for making sure this happens. Although patient and carer representatives should not carry this burden, these events have highlighted what can happen if we don’t work collaboratively, and has only added to our determination to use the invaluable input of people with lived experience in future."