Leadership blogs

Here are the thoughts and reflections on leadership and management of the Chair of the Leadership and Management Committee Dr Helen Crimlisk.

As I write this we are hunkering down for another period of national lockdown which I know will be occupying you and your teams. I know that balancing the urgent work of today with the important work which will help us more long term is a challenge all of us face.

LMC Draft Strategy 2021

I would like to thank the Leadership and Management Committee and also Simon Rose and Rachel Bannister (Patient and Carer representatives at RCPsych) for the work that you all put into coproducing our Strategy for 2021 to 2024. It was extremely helpful to have your contributions both at our meeting and afterwards and to have jointly come up with a strategy which is hopefully relevant for the times, challenging but also achievable.

I am particularly excited by a number of the areas we are proposing to focus on and will highlight my thoughts on a couple of areas.

1. Co-production in action

Many of us talk about it, but how many of us remember to routinely seek patient and carer views about the work we are doing? Especially during the recent COVID-19 crisis, this has been less evident, and yet, never more important. We shouldn’t need to be reminded of the value of keeping patients and carers involved in decisions whether that relates to delivering care individually, delivering services or developing to new ways of delivering care, but too often it feels too difficult or challenging. I am pleased that the LMC have demonstrated a commitment to working together with patients and carers and look forward to developing these relationships.

2. Leadership and Management Fellows Scheme

It has been a pleasure to see the first cohort of 32 College Leadership and Management Fellows graduate after a challenging year. I would like to extend my thanks to Michael Hobkirk, Alex Till and Michelle Braithwaite, who have kept the scheme running smoothly and are now supporting the 21/22 cohort, with a programme improved by feedback and relevant to the issues which this year has highlighted, including a focus on inclusivity and diversity and of digital leadership!

Some of the cohort, Ross Runciman, Emma Brandish and Sophie Behrman, have developed a Fellows Alumni group which will provide ongoing development and support for their and future cohorts.

3. Specialty Doctors’ and Associate Specialist Committee

I am delighted to have been able to work with the LMC SAS representative, Renato Merolli, to support the initiatives to encourage the development of this sometimes overlooked part of our workforce. An increasing number of Trusts are offering SAS posts with a focus on CESR support but adherence to the SAS Charter and supporting SAS psychiatrists who want to remain in his role is equally important and leadership development is something which should be on offer to all SAS doctors as part of their SPA time.

4. New Roles in Mental Health

Meeting the increasing demands on mental health services and manning or womaning the new services being developed by the Long Term Plan means embracing people entering the workforce through new roles. New competency frameworks for Peer workers and Advanced Practitioners and a Toolkit for employing Physician Associates working in mental health provide an opportunity to support more people, but at the same time, we need to ensure appropriate training and support.

5. College Engagement Network

The College is keen to develop a stronger link with the innovative work which is going on at ICS level and we have been working with the College and Billy Boland, chair of the General Adult Faculty to develop a network of psychiatrists linked in at Trust level to the developments occurring around the Community Mental Health Framework as a starting point. The LMC looks forward to supporting these psychiatrists as they try to tease out the learning from the change processes involved in these innovative models, influencing how they adapt and are adopted elsewhere.

Of course, none of this could happen without your input and help between and at LMC meetings, and I welcome offers to lead/ co-lead items in our strategy and/or am willing to consider co-opting people onto the Committee who are keen to work in this area. Please contact me at helen.crimlisk@shsc.nhs.uk with offers of help, comments or suggestions!

Equality, inclusivity, working together & leadership development

I'm writing this blog at the end of a week which began celebrating International Women's week. The hashtag this year was #ChooseToChallenge. As part of this, there was a launch of the College’s 25 Women project  which introduced us to 25 women, wonderfully diverse in terms of their roles, their seniority and their backgrounds, all of whom are achieving great things as women psychiatrists in their localities. It was a week since I had heard Kate Lovett demonstrating fantastic leadership with her talk "Where were all the Women" and I really felt it showed how far we as a profession have come regarding gender equality. The end of this week, however, was rather more depressing, with abominable behaviour shown towards women respectfully remembering Sarah Everard, which demonstrated how far we, as a society still have to go to ensure that women's voices are heard and that the misogyny, discrimination and violence faced by women in the UK and internationally is challenged and changed. 

I was privileged to be invited to speak to the first RCPsych Patient and Carer Conference this week, (talking about the coproduction of the Leadership and Management Committee (LMC) Strategy with Simon Rose and Rachel Bannister which I mentioned in my last blog). The conference launched the College's new approach to working with patient and carers "Working Together", which aims to ensure support, pay and fairness with regard to their input into College work. Diversity and inclusion were high on the agenda there as well, as were the principles of coproduction. The LMC strategy includes ensuring opportunity and support for diversity of all kinds in leadership and despite the aims to work towards equality, diversity and inclusion it remains the case that there is much work still to be done in and outside the College.

The LMC is very proud of the work that has been undertaken over the last 2 years of the RCPsych Leadership and Management Fellows Scheme and in particular, of the 32 graduates from last year, many of whom are now moving into their first consultant roles. There is an active L&MFS Alumni group who are supporting our current cohort and we will be recruiting next year’s cohort very soon. Following a review, there will be some changes next year which we hope will contribute to an improved and more sustainable programme as well as the potential to offer out some of elements of the course to SAS and consultants as well as working towards accreditation by the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management. Adverts will be going out soon for Honorary College positions of educational and operational leads and we will also be looking to recruit senior leaders and managers to co-run individual modules. 

Please get in contact with me if you would like to support the scheme or have other ideas about what the LMC should be doing! 

Helen Crimlisk Associate Registrar Leadership and Management



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