'What a year 2018 has been'
18 December, 2018
So here we are almost at the end of another year. And what a year 2018 has been.
Looking back to my January blog I told you that my resolutions for 2018 included work on three major areas with the College:
- retention and
- the Mental Health Act 1983 Review.
So how have I done?
We have been running a recruitment campaign for several years now. This was refreshed for 2018 entry and many of you worked hard to get the message out there.
I hope you have seen our film which is a powerful story of real patients and psychiatrists and demonstrates how choosing psychiatry makes a difference.
I have shown it to many medical students and foundation trainees and there is no doubt that it gets the message across.
The number of core trainees starting with us in August was up by nearly a third from the year before and our pilot CAMHS run-through scheme was more competitive than surgery.
This year our first set of applications for 2019 are up on last year, I really hope that we have turned the corner with recruitment.
Retention is another area that is hard to tackle. We know what will keep people in the workforce but trying to introduce the things that will help is hard. It does now seem to be improving.
The latest data for England shows that we now have the highest number of psychiatrists at all grades since the records began back in September 2009. Northern Ireland are also on the way up. Sadly Scotland and Wales are yet to follow this trend but we are hopeful that they soon will.
The MHA 1983 Review has just released its final report (pdf).
Simon Wessely did an amazing job in listening to patients and professionals and coming up with some recommendations that will improve things for us all. Only Simon could have done so much work at such speed and I am filled with admiration for him and his team. We look forward to working with him as the recommendations in the report are implemented.
Belfast and Cardiff went really well but on the day of Manchester there were gales that stopped the trains and the President’s lecture had to take place without the President, not a first that I am proud of…. Luckily, we film them all now for our website so I was able to catch up with it later.
Another very special trip was to Dumfries House in Ayrshire in the company of John Crichton, Chair of RCPsych in Scotland.
Prince Charles, our Royal patron, rescued the house in 2007. The house is open to visitors and both it and the grounds are beautiful and well worth a visit.
He also uses it as a centre for Social Prescribing provided free to the local community.
I was really impressed by the work he is doing and the contribution to the community’s health and well-being. We are planning a Social Prescribing event next summer and you’ll be able to find out more at that.
While I gad about the UK, hard work continues at the College.
This is a really important piece of work, please do read it.
We finished the year with a Christmas card competition. All the entries were brilliant and it was really hard to choose a winner. I love the winning design and enjoyed signing the ones I sent.
So what will my resolutions be for 2019? I will think about this over Christmas.
One will be to produce a second edition of our very popular Audit book. I am also keen to keep meeting members and hearing your concerns.
I am always happy to speak at meetings or events, particularly if there is a Premier Inn available nearby, so please keep inviting me.
Thanks to everyone who I have visited this year and who has made me so welcome. Thanks also to the College staff who work so hard to support us. And thanks to every single one of you for all that you do to help our patients.
I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.