COVID-19: information for psychiatrists in Scotland

Explore our most up to date guidance and information for psychiatrists working in Scotland. 

How to use our guidance

We have created a fast-evolving hub of COVID-19 information designed for clinicians.  This guidance has been written from a broad UK perspective and will be, for the most part, applicable across the UK, and the College is asking its members in Scotland to adhere to this guidance where possible.

This page contains references to key Scottish resources, external guidance and a glossary of terms, to complement the UK guidance.

Key Principles

  • Mental health professionals, as with other healthcare workers, may find themselves having to make very difficult decisions during this time. Practitioners should continue to adhere to their own and Good Medical Practice values; and it is essential that they know that in doing so, they have the full support of the Chief Medical Officer, Regulatory Bodies, and the Royal College.
  • This guidance provides a set of universally applicable instructions for mental health professionals, however, local Health Board and Health and Social Care Partnership guidance must also be adhered to.
  • Practitioners should continue to do their utmost to adhere to human rights principles and those of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. Circumstances may arise which prove a challenge to the normal practice of adherence to these principles, in such incidences practitioners should act with proportionality and with Good Medical Practice values.
  • Guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is updated regularly, however, practitioners must also refer to Health Protection Scotland for regular updates, as PPE guidance will continue to evolve. Scottish Government have introduced new measures to improve the distribution of PPE, including a point of contact for all health boards to manage local PPE supply and distribution, and an email address for NHS staff to contact if they do not have what they need is covid-19-health-PPE@gov.scot. It will be monitored continuously.

Terminology

Please note that some of the terms used in the RCPsych’s guidance are aimed at members in England and Wales and are not applicable to Scotland. For instance, references to Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups should be interpreted as Health Boards.

Please note that the use of Local resilience forums and Health Protection teams (HPT) are not applicable to Scottish Psychiatry and Mental Health. If you see a link to Public Health England, please refer to Health Protection Scotland.

Scottish Specific Guidance

Whilst the UK guidance should be relevant and of use to practitioners across the UK, please find below some exceptions and considerations specific to the Scottish health care system. This will be updated regularly.

  • Please note that some of the terms used in the RCPsych’s guidance are aimed at members in England and Wales and are not applicable to Scotland.
  • For instance, references to Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups should be interpreted as Health Boards.
  • Please note that the use of Local resilience forums and Health Protection teams (HPT) are not applicable to Scottish Psychiatry and Mental Health.
  • If you see a link to Public Health England, please refer to Health Protection Scotland.

Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020

The Act after passing through the Scottish Parliament.

Please note that provisions relating to s.13ZA do not come into force on 7 April and will only come into force when regulations are invoked by Ministers, which will be only when absolutely necessary and will required to be evidenced.

Scottish Government Mental Health Directorate Update on Coronavirus Act 2020 – 27 March 2020

Clinical Guidance for NHS Scotland: Using Physical Restraint For Patients With Confirmed Or Suspected COVID-19

Guidance on emergency measures in COVID-19 legislation

Mental Welfare Scotland - COVID-19 Mental Welfare Commission Advice Note, version 13 (7 August 2020)

RCPsych in Scotland webinars

We've been producing webinars in which our experts discuss specific aspects of the pandemic.

The webinar is focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown on vulnerable children and young people, particularly those with ASD.

It features a diverse panel led by our Child and Adolescent Faculty Chair, Elaine Lockhart, alongside representatives from Kindred, Young Scot, ASPEP and the Scottish Association for Community Child Health.

It provides the opportunity for a discussion that can highlight the potential fault lines exposed in the support provided to children and young people, as well on how we can build on new ways of providing support discovered during the past few months.

Presentations

Morven Graham

Shuili Russell

Sophie Pilgrim

Susie Gibbs

Kirsten Urquhart

Led by Dr Jane Morris with presentations from the College’s Suicide Prevention Lead, Dr David Hall, and Samaritans Scotland Director, Rachell Cackett, discussions focus on the impact of the pandemic on incidences of suicide.

The efforts underway or in development to support those who are suicidal are discussed, as well as research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

An overview of the emergency provisions within the Coronavirus legislation, when this might be enacted and the support the College would provide. Roger Smyth of NHS Lothian discusses the specific legislative changes, and Arun Chopra of the Mental Welfare Commission speaks about the practical day-to-day impact of processing these changes.