Journey to the future mental health workforce
12 November, 2018
I am writing this in extreme discomfort on a delayed, slow running, tightly packed train from Leeds to Birmingham.
A problem shared… On the plus side I do at least have a seat (more than many of the other passengers) and I’m making the journey for a good reason.
I’m on my way to see how the liaison psychiatrists in the Rapid Assessment, Interface and Discharge (RAID) team work with Physician’s Associates.
I’ve been hearing increasingly positive reports of how these roles support services and am looking at how we might recruit more of them to expand the Mental Health workforce.
Talking genomics and neuroscience
It’s been another busy round of conferences for me this month. One of the best was the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics in Glasgow.
It’s always a pleasure to visit Scotland and this trip had the added bonus of a wonderful mixture of geneticists and psychiatrists working together to unravel the mysteries of how psychiatric conditions are inherited.
This is a field that is advancing rapidly and I’m excited by places that are implementing genomic medicine at unprecedented scale. I was there to talk about the Gatsby Wellcome Neuroscience project which is now attracting International interest.
The project’s third Neuroscience Spring Conference will focus on genetics and epigenetics of the brain and behaviour and will be held in London on 15 March 2019. If you are interested in attending please email Neuroscienceproject@rcpsych.ac.uk.
I also attended the first ever Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit in London. This brought together the world's political leaders, innovators, experts by experience and policy makers to share innovative approaches to improving mental health.
The way that this is moving up the National agenda was demonstrated by the attendance of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and by Theresa May hosting a reception for delegates at 10 Downing Street.
Sadly Larry, the Number 10 cat, was nowhere to be seen, I think it was probably too large a crowd for him.
The Red Box
The big news this monthover the past month was is the budget announcement by the Chancellor of an extra £20.5bn for the NHS over the next five years with a minimum extra £2bn a year for NHS England mental health services.
We are cautiously optimistic about this and are looking forward to hearing details of how the money will be used in the NHS 10-year which we expect willto be published before Christmas. We are working hard to influence those writing the plan and are emphasising the need for more money in the core CMHTs and inpatient units as well as funding for new services.
I know that at the moment everyone is feeling over-stretched and under-resourced. For some of you in England that is partly due to your CCG not investing enough in mental health services.
Our policy team has carried out research which shows that your CCG has cut mental health spending (that includes spending on services for dementia and intellectual disabilities) if you live work in any of the following constituencies: Dartford, Gravesham, Cheltenham, Forest of Dean, Gloucester, Stroud, Tewkesbury, The Cotswolds, Clacton, Colchester, Harwich & North Essex, Ludlow, North Shropshire or Shrewsbury & Atcham.
If you live in those constituencies you may have recently received an email from our communications team with a letter for you to send to your MP. I know how stretched your time is, but I’d really appreciate it if you could take a couple of minutes to email the letter on to your MP to encourage them to play their role in holding your the CCG and the Department of Health and Social Care to account and help us secure the funding our services desperately need.
If you haven’t received a letter please email Jeremy.Gale@rcpsych.ac.uk who will supply you with all the information.
I hope you all noticed the launch of our latest Choose Psychiatry recruitment campaign following the success of the last one.
As well as a hard hitting news story on the impact waiting for services can have on patients (that you may have spotted some College reps talking about this on the BBC) we launched another film with moving accounts of how psychiatrists have helped patients to recover.
The stories in it are true. The patients are played by actors but the psychiatrists play themselves (you might may even recognise some of the stars!).
It’s a great reminder of how the work we do really does change lives for the better, and importantly shows the wider world and the next generation of doctors why they should #ChoosePsychiatry.