RCPsych eNewsletter September 2018

Wendy talks about how improving the small things will help attract the next generation of psychiatrists.

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Next month the application window will open for foundation trainees to select their specialisms.

It’s an important time and naturally we want to encourage more trainees to join us, with this in mind we want to know who inspired you to Choose Psychiatry?

Support our campaign by sharing a short video message on social media #InspiredtoChoosePsychiatry or #ChoosePsychiatry

If video isn’t your thing, then a tweet will do! Just use the same hashtags.

Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Rory Conn has already volunteered his inspiration – a consultant from when he was a student at UCL.

Rory said: “Dr Sturgeon attended to us as students, taking us for a coffee and getting to know us a little, from the outset. No other consultant had ever done this, and he put us at ease.

“We went to the medical ward to review a couple of patients. I'd never seen a doctor talk to their patients in this way - with such empathy and understanding. He was open, gentle, inquisitive - he knew how to conduct the examination to invite the patient to reveal such sensitive personal issues. It was like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.

“Before that day I had an idea I would be an orthopaedic surgeon. What I saw on that attachment was a new style of clinical communication that I wanted to aspire to.”

Have you got a similar story? Let us know.

The campaign kicks off at the start of October

And if you’re holding an event get in touch with us for materials and don’t forget to share your story! Don’t forget to remind medical students and foundation trainees they can become an associate member for free.

The College is launching a competition to design our Christmas card for 2018 – which will be sent to the Prime Minister, leading politicians, and many other decision-makers and opinion-formers across the UK.

The competition to find an illustration for this year’s festive period opens today, and the person who enters the winning design will win a brand new iPad Pro.

So, if you fancy bringing some Christmas cheer to the College’s key stakeholders, why not submit an entry?

How to enter the competition

This year’s theme is ‘The RCPsych at Christmas’.

All designs are welcome – from digital designs to classic artistry.

The competition is open to all members, patients, carers and RCPsych employees.

As first prize for winning the competition, along with winning an iPad Pro, your design will be featured as the image for our 2018 Christmas card.

Your entry must reach us by 5pm on Friday 9 November.

To enter the competition you need to submit:

  • Your design (by email and post)
  • Your details:
    • Name
    • Email and postal address
    • Entrant status – as either a College member, a patient, a carer or RCPsych employee
    • A recent photograph of yourself.

For more information, please contact angelica.alu@rcpsych.ac.uk.

Terms and conditions of the competition

  • All entries – postal and emailed – must be received by 5pm on Friday 9 November.
  • All emailed entries must be sent to the EA to the Chief Executive, Angelica Alu, at angelica.alu@rcpsych.ac.uk.
  • All posted entries must be sent unfolded, in an A4 envelope, to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 21 Prescot Street, London E1 8BB.
  • Digital designs should be a minimum of 300 DPI, and at least 125x125mm in size.
  • Digital images should be sent as a jpeg, PDF, or any other standard image format.
  • The winning entry will be decided upon by a panel comprised of the College officers and Chief Executive of the RCPsych.
  • The decision of the College officers and Chief Executive of the RCPsych will be final.

Several vacancies are coming up on RCPsych boards and committees, including a position on the College’s Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees decides on the biggest issues affecting the College including how we use our resources and the service we provide to members.

If you’re interested in joining the Board, you can find information on the Nominations page.

There are also positions which will become available on Divisions, Devolved Nations, Faculty and Psychiatric Trainee committees.

You can find out more in your DivisionsDevolved NationsFaculty or PTC sections of the website

Do you have an interest in communicating psychiatry and mental health to non-psychiatrists?

We’re looking for psychiatrists at all career stages to join the College’s Public Engagement Editorial Board (PEEB).

We’re looking for consultant and trainee psychiatrists to join the team of members working on the production of College information for the general public.  

The Board produces leaflets and factsheets which are available in paper form and on the College website. This award-winning information covers a range of mental health issues, including the description of different disorders, treatments and ways to help yourself.

Applicants would work with the Board to research, draft, pilot and launch a new leaflet to the general public. The time required would be approximately half a day a week which could be taken flexibly.

If you’re interested, please send a short CV and s covering letter explaining why you would be interested, to thomas.kennedy@rcpsych.ac.uk.

The closing date for applications is Friday 12 October 2018.  Applicants may also be invited to take part in an informal phone interview.

Next month the College hopes to launch a brand new, bolder and brighter, mobile friendly website.

We’ve aimed to give the site a more modern look and feel, and of course that includes working well across all devices including desktops, laptops, iPads and mobile phones.

The College’s Digital Communications team worked with a user group of over 100 stakeholders including psychiatrists at a wide range of career stages, medical students, patients and the public including teenagers, and more.

The user group helped us decide on the design and structure of the new site, both of which are intended to help you find the information you need as quickly as possible.

At the start, we did an online survey to find out what College members and others thought of the current site, and one thing that came out was the wish to access CPD Submissions, CPD Online and TrOn, among other things, easily.

We’ve responded to that by providing quick access using highly visible buttons on the homepage.

Of course, the launch of the new site is just the start of what we hope will be an exciting step up in the College’s services online, and we’ll be working with you to improve the site further in the coming months.

In the event of the government not being able to negotiate a new deal with the European Union, we will find ourselves with a 'no deal Brexit'.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, has written a letter to the Health and Social care sector, detailing what they should and should not do in this eventuality.

The RCPsych has been asked to alert its members to this letter, which advises doctors not to stockpile medication, as the Department of Health and Social Care believes this will disrupt medication supply chains.

Dr Bushra Azam is an ST7 in dual old age and general adult psychiatry. She has recently been appointed as a consultant psychiatrist in liaison psychiatry in Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and has been one of the College’s sustainability scholars for just over a year. This is her story.

Why I chose this position

Throughout my training I have witnessed the social, economical and environmental difficulties the NHS is experiencing and my frustration in not being able to bring about change. When this position was advertised, I was attracted to it because I realised this would be an opportunity to make a contribution to the NHS and try to bring about positive change.

What is sustainability?

This is a broad concept. It not only applies to psychiatry but healthcare in it’s entirety. It aims to reduce the economic and environmental burden of healthcare, a focus on prevention at an individual and community level by empowering patients and staff.

Furthermore, it involves improving quality, cost and promoting best practice while minimising our impact on the environment through reducing our use of resources.

Developing sustainability accreditation

My aim was to work with the College Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI) to develop sustainability accreditation by mapping various psychiatric services (e.g. memory services) against sustainability principles of prevention, empowerment, value and carbon reduction.

For this purpose, I met up with the CCQI lead at the College and attended the College sustainability committee meeting to agree on the mapping process. We started the accreditation process with the memory services. I had the opportunity to go as an observer for the MSNAP (memory services national accreditation process) assessment to a trust in the north of England.

This was an all-day process. I met many professionals during my visit and learned a lot about the accreditation process. I also did a retrospective audit of the 15 memory services across the country to assess their compliance against sustainability principles. This process helped us in making sure that our mapping process is valid. I had several meetings with my supervisors in person and on Skype to ensure that the accreditation process is thorough and fair.

During my time as a sustainability scholar I gave presentations regionally and locally on my work and raising awareness of sustainability in mental health services. I received good feedback from colleagues.

The presentations stimulated good discussions amongst the audience on how they can incorporate these principles in their daily practice. In addition, I had a stall at the RCPsych Old Age National Conference 2018 which was well received.

At present we are in the final stages of implementing the memory service national sustainability accreditation with the aim to extend this work to other services like AIMS, forensic and CAMHS once it is agreed by the CCQI and the College sustainability committee.

An exciting and rich learning experience

Overall, it has been a  very pleasant experience during which I learned a lot by being part of the College accreditation assessment team, networking with and learning from the experience of colleagues who have been working on other sustainability projects, raising awareness of sustainability among mental health professionals and meeting with the CCQI and the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists for development of the sustainability accreditation process.

I strongly believe this experience will guide me and hopefully others in making mental health services more sustainable in the future.


  1. Settling the science but sparking domestic disquiet nationally, research has confirmed that men are more likely to tell lies than women.
  2. A 20-year follow-up study has shown there is just no ‘safe’ time to discontinue antipsychotics, and benefits persist even after two decades.
  3. In refractory psychosis, for those unable or unwilling to tolerate clozapine, a new randomised controlled trial has shown that augmenting treatment-as-usual with CBT improves outcomes.


  1. True. Sorry boys.
  2. True; guideline recommendations to stop earlier have not been based on good data.
  3. False; it made no difference.
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