How the College supports workforce wellbeing

Every doctor working in psychiatry should feel safe, valued and able to thrive at work.

Wellbeing was one of Dr Adrian James' strategic priorities when he was President:

“We will campaign to improve the lives of people of all ages with mental illness by calling for fair funding for the continued expansion in access to mental health services, supported by a strong and resilient mental health workforce, underpinned by high-quality research.”

The Wellbeing Committee meets four times per year and is chaired by Dr Saadia Muzaffar and Dr Samir Shah, Co-Associate Registrars for Retention and Wellbeing. It includes representation from the College's President, Dean, Registrar, Director of Professional Standards and the Head of Training and Workforce.

The Committee is also represented by the Specialist Advisors for the Psychiatrists' Support Service (PSS) and Coaching and Mentoring Network. There are representatives from the Psychiatric Trainees’ Committee (PTC) and Specialty Doctors' (SAS) Committee, the Wellbeing Champion lead, and several other College special interest groups.

Read an outline of the Wellbeing Committee’s top priorities

Wellbeing Committee’s Position Statement Update

The Wellbeing Committee is in the process of compiling a new position statement drawing on the previous version from 2018. In light of the workforce's challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee decided to compile a position statement that reflects and defines the current challenges for psychiatrists, taking into account previous systemic factors that affected workforce wellbeing too.

The position statement aims to make impactful recommendations that focus on effective workforce wellbeing strategies as a fundamental aspect that supports safe clinical practice and a sustainable workforce.

The Wellbeing Committee, in collaboration with the Divisions and Devolved Councils, established a pilot programme to create a network of Wellbeing Champions across the UK to support psychiatrists locally and to be a link between individuals, trusts, and the College.  

Nine champions have been appointed – with representation from the Devolved Councils of Wales and Northern Ireland and Division representation from the Eastern, London, West Midlands, Northern and Yorkshire and Trent executives.

We currently do not have a Champions appointed to the Devolved Council of the RCPsych in Scotland or the Southwestern Division Executive.

The role of the Champions is to raise awareness and knowledge at regional and locality level of the individual and systemic factors that impact on wellbeing, in addition to promoting RCPsych, local and national resources and gathering and providing feedback on local issues and concerns regarding workforce wellbeing in the localities; from the frontlines on current challenges and areas for improvement.

View the Wellbeing Champion job description

In collaboration with the Wellbeing Committee and the Workforce team, a policy was rolled out in late 2020 whereby all consultant and Specialty Doctor job descriptions must include a 'wellbeing paragraph' which must reference the following points:

  • Effective local occupational health support
  • Proactive local organizational systems to support doctors’ wellbeing following serious incidents
  • Availability of local initiatives/resources that promote workforce wellbeing (e.g. self-care, work-life balance, stress management, coaching/mentoring, peer group support, Balint groups for consultants/SAS doctors)

No job description is approved through the quality assurance process unless they contain these paragraphs. An exemplar JD can be found on our job description approval process page.

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry