Letter from the Chair of RCPsych in Scotland - November 2020

Scotland news
06 November 2020

Scottish Election Results

I have the greatest pleasure in announcing the RCPsych in Scotland Officers from Summer 2021 until 2025. Linda Findlay will be moving from Vice Chair to Chair of RCPsych in Scotland and Vice-President of the RCPsych. Jane Morris from acting Finance Officer to Vice Chair and Pradeep Pasupuleti from Chair of the RCPsych in Scotland Forensic Faculty to Finance Officer. Seamus McNulty continues as Scotland’s Education and Training Committee lead and Ihsan Kader as Chair of Choose Psychiatry Scotland. They will be supported by Devolved Council including new and returning faces, Jude Halford, Lovely Rajan, Andrew Robertson and Andy Williams.

A number of posts in Scotland and more widely in the College will be subject to an election. Whoever you may choose to support I would encourage every member to participate. It is very straightforward to electronically vote. The main problem is the College having up-to-date emails and important messages not being lost in a blizzard of messages or disappearing in spam folders. For most of us nhs.net accounts will stop forwarding messages to the migrated Scottish NHS email shortly. Check on the website that your details are correct.

Scottish Manifesto

Before my own term of office ends next June, I hope to have finished some loose ends from our establishment as a Devolved Council. We also will use the forthcoming Scottish parliamentary elections of May 2021 as an opportunity to emphasise the importance of funding mental health services and highlight some more specific issues we have been campaigning for - such as expanding the number of foundation year doctors working in psychiatry and the creation of statutory aftercare duties on local authorities to improve patient flow. We will be issuing a manifesto to all political parties in Scotland from the College (before the political parties have settled on theirs) and a series of meetings with the political parties has already begun with the hope that our suggestions will be widely considered and adopted. The manifesto’s theme is on access and working to ensure there is no wrong door to accessing the right care for mental ill health at the point of need.

To enable all members to participate in the manifesto process, in addition to those groups already consulted with, we have developed a survey of members on some of the key issue highlighted in the document. By adding you voice to these responses, you can ensure the priorities we outline carry authority. A powerful statement begins, ‘Our members tell us...’ but we have to evidence on what basis we make such a claim.

Our aim is that the RCPsych in Scotland manifesto can then be a resource for every member in engaging prospective parliamentary candidates. We are in the process of examining how best to enable this ahead of launch at the end of this month, and will contact the membership ahead of time with further details.

Looking ahead

One appealing aspect about elections is that they focus on the future and what we can do better. At the beginning of the Pandemic I was often cautioning others that Covid would go on for longer than they thought – now I find myself reminding others that this extraordinary period of time will come to an end. The International Congress 2021 will be a digital event which aims to stand out from the various digital offerings available in terms of its production and content. Edinburgh is identified for the Congress in 2022 which will be a great opportunity to showcase Scottish Psychiatry.

So my passing over of the Chain of Office in June 2021 is likely to be a muted affair. There are few opportunities to wear it and such things are a little out of fashion, but it serves of a reminder that for generations we have come together as a professional community. At such a time of pandemic, that collegiate belonging and mutual support has never been never more important.

Professor John Crichton

RCPsych in Scotland Medal November 2020

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