Help us to help you on the front line
08 September, 2017
It’s already more than two months since I took up the post of President. It has been a massively steep learning curve.
Having spent five years as Dean I thought that I knew the College, but it turns out there was a lot going on that I wasn’t aware of.
I received a challenge earlier this week sent from the psychiatrist husband of a College committee member: “The College does nothing for jobbing psychiatrists”.
Having been a jobbing psychiatrist myself for over 30 years, I know why he said that.
On the front line
Out there on the front line it’s hard to know what the College is up to and all you see is resources dwindling away and demands and bureaucracy constantly increasing.
From my position now I can see exactly what the College is doing and how great the influence is.
Simon Wessely achieved a huge amount as President and psychiatry has been promised significantly more resources over the next few years.
What I have to do is to make sure those pledges are kept and that money does actually reach the services on the ground.
It was good to find out that in Leeds where I work new money for perinatal and liaison services has got through as promised.
Something that has impressed me is the great esteem in which the College is held.
As its representative people in positions of power are keen to meet me and (apparently) willing to listen to what I have to say and be guided by it.
I now know that the College does have a major influence at a national level. This makes it really important that as many members as possible are directly involved.
How you can get involved
Some 1,880 of you already have some type of a role within the College and I hope this will grow. Please watch the posts for members page on the website.
We are currently advertising a number of interesting positions including Chairs of two Specialty Advisory Committees, General Adult and Child and Adolescent which oversee training in these specialities.
Involvement with training and trainees is fantastically rewarding, please consider applying.
You will be aware that the Government has announced that the Mental Health Act, covering England and Wales, will be reviewed in some way. This is as a result of the steadily rising number of detentions and the increased likelihood of being detained if you are black.
These aren’t issues that can be ignored and I’m pleased that they won’t be. It’s an area where I really do need to know what you are thinking and how to represent you so we are running a survey.
Members in England and Wales will have had a recent reminder email from me about this, please do try to complete it, I promise it only takes a few minutes. I also promise I won’t be constantly bombarding you with annoying surveys, it’s just that this is particularly important.
Our new campaign Choose Psychiatry
The final way in which I am asking for your help and involvement is with our recruitment campaign.
Recruitment has a been a problem for years now with unfilled core training posts each application round (although I’m hearing that the quality is improving if not the quantity). We are targeting doctors using social media so please share as much as possible.
We hope the Choose Psychiatry campaign will help but what will make the biggest impact is you acting as role models.
Please forget the tedious computerised assessments and forms that you have to complete and concentrate on what you love about psychiatry.
Make sure that the medical students and Foundation doctors with you see how incredibly interesting the conditions that we deal with are, and what a huge difference we can make to people’s lives if we chose psychiatry as a career.