RCPsych in Scotland news

Welcome boost for trainee doctor posts

27 September 2019

Scotland’s medical workforce is due to by bolstered by 105 more places by 2022 for new graduates on the Foundation Training programme – including the specialism of psychiatry.

Medical students graduate from medical school after five years and move in to a two-year Foundation Training Programme.

The first 51 training posts will be available under this scheme in 2021 for students to continue their training to become qualified doctors.

RCPsych in Scotland have been campaigning on this issue for several months.

Professor John Crichton, chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said: “We welcome this announcement as currently around a quarter of foundation year doctors have training in psychiatry compared to about half of new doctors in England.

“This move will improve the medical workforce and general understanding of mental health and will attract more people to choose psychiatry as a career.

“We look forward to finding out about the implantation of this exciting new development and it will be essential there is ongoing monitoring to ensure we are on track and the quality of placements is high.”

Announcing the move on a visit to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“With a programme that is 99% full, our Foundation training is a testament to the popularity of Scotland as a training destination and the high-quality education we offer.

“We need confident, skilled and committed doctors to meet the needs of patients, particularly as we face an ageing population with multiple conditions.

“With the offer of an exceptional quality of life for young doctors in Scotland, I am committed to providing attractive training and career prospects to ensure as many medical graduates from Scottish medical schools stay in Scotland to train, progress and realise their career ambitions.”

These additional Foundation posts will create a greater range of placements for trainee doctors particularly in general practice, psychiatry and in remote or rural parts of Scotland.


Welcome news for patients as more junior doctors take up psychiatry


10 July 2019  

The number of junior doctors taking up psychiatry in Scotland is steadily on the increase, according to official figures. 


New statistics from NHS Education for Scotland (NES)reveals that in 2019, 41 of the 57 posts advertised have been filled – a rate of 72 per cent.


This is compared to 67 per cent last year where 40 junior doctors took up psychiatry from 60 posts advertised.


Although figures have increased by 4 per cent, 2015 had the highest increase in fill rate, with 53 posts advertised and 50 accepted places – a total of 94 per cent.


But doctors have welcomed the news that the numbers are steadily on the increase again.


Dr John Crichton, chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said:


“This is welcome news for both patients and mental health services.


“But we must not be complacent. People will always need psychiatrists and working with the Scottish Government, we need to do all we can to continue to promote it as an excellent career choice for all junior doctors.


“Being a psychiatrist is a rewarding and brilliant career choice and in Scotland we are world-leading in many aspects of mental health.


“We should be working towards increasing the rates to an all-time high again.”


After medical school, trainees undergo a two-year foundation training programme to bridge the gap between medical school and further specialist training. After Foundation School, junior doctors choose to follow either general or specialist medicine.


The six-year specialist psychiatry training programme is the final step in the journey to become a consultant psychiatrist – the most senior doctor specialising in mental health.


The Royal College of Psychiatrists is currently running a #ChoosePsychiatry campaign to encourage more people into the profession.


College responds to latest suicide statistics in Scotland

26 June 2019

Statistics released today by the Scottish Government show that 784 people died by suicide in Scotland in 2018. This compares to 680 deaths by suicide in 2017.

Commenting on the latest statistics, RCPsych in Scotland's Suicide Prevention Lead, Dr David Hall said:

“Although figures have improved overall in the last five years - it is disappointing that these latest statistics are looking like a backward step.

“The National Suicide Prevention Plan includes a number of important initiatives which are being actively developed and are based on the best available evidence to push suicide figures back down. They include further awareness raising and training, a commitment to review every death by suicide in Scotland to allow greater understanding of what causes these devastating events to occur, and to learn from them.”

College responds to Scottish Government funding on social media and mental health

23 April 2019

Scots school pupils are to be coached on how to use social media amid fears that sites such as Instagram and Twitter are contributing to a decline in mental health.

The Scottish Government are to invest £90,000 on official advice on how to cope with the pressures of social media. The move was welcomed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, however the organisation warned that children are also suffering from a lack of mental health services due to council cuts.

Dr Elaine Lockhart, chair of the Child and Adolescent Faculty said:

“We welcome this focus on children and young people’s mental health as it highlights the importance to us all about the positive and negative aspects of using social media and why adequate, undisturbed sleep during adolescence is essential.

“We know from recent research that the most vulnerable young people with mental health disorders are more likely to be adversely affected by time spent on social media.

“Although the Scottish Government's ambitions are welcome, the reality is that right now many children and young people are not getting the help they need to stop falling into crisis.

“Scotland needs joined up services so that children and young people can access help when they need it. However, much of that early help has been provided through local authority budgets which have fallen in recent years, affecting what can be offered within schools, social services and the third sector.

“Specialist CAMHS need to be funded sufficiently so that children and young people can be seen quickly when needed, but also to allow for work with partners across children's services to support mental health promotion, prevention and care.”

Leading Scots Psychiatrist Advises Downing Street Summit

3 April 2019

A leading Scottish doctor visited 10 Downing Street today (Wednesday) - to advise on the best way forward in tackling youth violence.

Dr John Crichton, chair of The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) met with ministers and other officials to talk about improving mental health services for those affected by serious youth violence at the Serious Violence Summit.

Recently, Dr Crichton was involved in research looking at “killer” kitchen knives and how the introduction of pointed kitchen knives could help reduce the number of fatal stabbings.

Research shows that many attacks, particularly in households where there has been a history of violence, involve kitchen knives because they are so easily accessible. The psychiatrist believes a switch from sharp-pointed, long-bladed kitchen knives to a new “R” point design could save lives.

Dr Crichton said: “These are very important discussions to have. I’m pleased the UK government is looking at how to tackle serious youth violence and how we target the most vulnerable. Improving and expanding services for people whose mental health may have been impacted by serious youth violence should be a top priority.

“In Scottish cities, we’ve seen some great work from the Violence Reduction Units which has resulted in a large drop in murders and the number of people admitted to hospital with knife wounds. Some of these strategies are now being adopted by cities in England.

“Notably the ‘preventative’ approach taken by Glasgow – once the city with the highest murder rate in western Europe – has now been adopted by London.

“This is where my research into kitchen knives comes to the fore. This is a public health measure and public health measures are always about society deciding on a self-imposed restriction for the public good.”

Dr Crichton attended a roundtable discussion hosted by Nick Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Dr Gary Morrison

3 April 2019

The College is saddened to report that Dr Gary Morrison has suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.

Dr Morrison specialised in Old Age Psychiatry in the Dumfries area and had sat on the College in Scotland’s devolved council since 2014. In more recent years he had been the Executive Director (Medical) at the Mental Welfare Commission. Dr Morrison had led national work on early diagnosis dementia and best practice in old age psychiatry.

The funeral will be at 3:00pm on the 17 April at Seafield Crematorium, Edinburgh.

Dr Susan F Whyte, CBE

3 April 2019

We are very sad to announce that Dr Sue Whyte passed away peacefully on Friday 29th March. Dr Whyte, Liaison Consultant in Glasgow was the Chair of the RCPsych in Scotland between 1997-2001 and was also Chair of the Academy of Royal Colleges in Scotland. She had a lifelong passion for medical education and training. Post-retirement she carried on that interest as a non-exec member of NES. She was awarded a CBE for her role in medical education. Sue was endlessly supportive to trainees around Scotland and was known for her warmth and kindness. Many colleagues will have fond memories of working with her. She was also a great champion for women in medicine and was the first female Chair of the College in Scotland. Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time.

Funeral service to be held on Tuesday, 9th April at the Linn Crematorium, Lainshaw Drive at 2:00pm.

Scottish Government Review of the Mental Health Act

19 March 2019

The review, which was announced on 17 March 2019, will examine developments in mental health law and practice on compulsory detention and on care and treatment since the current legislation came into force in 2005.

Dr John Crichton, chair of Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said: “We welcome this review.

“It is nearly 20 years since the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 led the way in giving new rights to detained patients – two of its key recommendations are now set to be adopted in England following Professor Sir Simon Wessely’s review last year.

“It is time for Scotland again to be at the forefront of international legislation which embraces developments in human rights, promotes assisted decision-making, respects carers, ensures the appropriateness of services and works efficiently.

“Here is the exciting prospect of fusing incapacity and mental health legislation with the aim of reducing stigma and enhancing rights.

Delivery of forensic mental health services to be reviewed by the Scottish Government

8 March 2019

The Scottish Government announced on 8 March 2019 a review of Forensic Mental Health Services across all levels of security and prisons.

Dr John Crichton, Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:

“The Royal College of Psychiatrists welcomes today’s announcement of a review into the delivery of Forensic Mental Health Services in Scotland.

“With the number of patients in high security falling over recent years, a review of how patient needs are met at the most appropriate level of security is welcomed - care that promotes safe recovery in the least restrictive setting.”

“There is also a need to review and improve Mental Health services in prisons while ensuring that those being released from prison have access to continuing mental health support and throughcare.”

“The Government’s focus on finding a solution in Scotland for female patients who require high-security services and children who need secure mental health care is also welcomed, given the difficulties and disadvantages of transferring patients to services in England.”

Dr James (Jim) Dyer

The office is sorry to report that Dr James Dyer sadly passed away on 24 January 2019. Dr Dyer was a College member for over 40 years and was previously the director of the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland. As a College member, he generously contributed his knowledge and expertise and was a much respected and valued colleague and friend.

The funeral was held on Monday 11th February at St Mark’s Unitarian Church, 7 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh. This was followed by interment at Dean Cemetery, 63 Dean Path, Edinburgh.

If you have any questions regarding the funeral, please contact the RCPsych in Scotland office.

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