My 2019 resolution
28 January, 2019
At the end of last year, I promised to let you know my resolutions for 2019.
There are no surprises here. Recruitment has improved but we still have a long way to go so that will remain a big priority. Retention has also improved a bit and at last the total numbers of psychiatrists in the UK are creeping up. I don't underestimate the challenges ahead but we are certainly continuing to make progress. Those two areas will definitely continue to be hugely important to me.
The other big priority will of course be to ensure that we get what we were promised in the NHS Long Term Plan for England, which I'm sure you spotted was published recently. I was really pleased with its contents, especially the commitment to increase the investment into mental health services at a greater rate than that into the NHS as a whole.
There's no question that we have a long way to travel before we reach true parity with physical healthcare but we are going in the right direction, the job for us now is making sure that all the positive stuff in the Long Term Plan is delivered on the frontline. I would like to give a massive thanks to all College members and staff who lobbied so hard and so persuasively to achieve this.
This year we did really well in the National Honours system with three of our members receiving awards. Dr Sridevi Kalidindi, the former Chair of our Faculty of Rehabilitation and Social Psychiatry, was awarded a CBE. Dr Gertrude Seneviratne, Chair of the College's Perinatal Psychiatry Faculty, received an OBE and Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones an OBE for her work in addictions. We will be submitting another round of applications soon so please send us any suggestions.
We are also about to open applications for Fellowship of the College. This is awarded annually as a mark of distinction and recognition of contribution to psychiatry. I find that psychiatrists tend to be too modest and I have met many of you on my travels who more than deserve this award but you don't realise it. I'm happy to advise anyone who is considering this. And if you're thinking that you haven't done enough, please think again!
While on the subject of awards the next round of the Clinical Excellence Awards is also about to open. If you have been involved in College work and would like us to support you please get in touch. I went to a meeting with the chair of the Awards' advisory committee recently and I was heartened to hear that they take College rankings and citations very seriously. Please do apply, I know they are not easy to get but don't be intimidated. You've got to be in it (the application process, that is) to win it!
Once Christmas and the New Year were over, I resumed my national tour of Premier Inns. A highlight was a trip to Norwich where I heard about their Youth Service which sees people between the ages of 14 and 25. Basically they tore up the rule book and asked young people what they wanted. The result is a very interesting service which is truly patient centred. The NHS Long Term Plan includes a model of 0-25 years for children's and young people's mental health services to be rolled out nationally and the College will be producing some guidance on this. Meanwhile, I suspect Norwich will be receiving a lot of visitors...
While in Norwich I was also lucky enough to attend an open day at their new Mother and Baby unit. This was clean, bright, modern and airy. If only all our inpatients units were so pleasant. I wish the team luck in their new building.
I also spoke at a Sussex Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust conference for their medical staff on “Value and feeling valued”. It was a really interesting day which gave the staff at the Trust a chance to network and share ideas. I would recommend a day like this to any Trust as a way of improving morale. Our new Associate Registrar for Wellbeing and Retention, Dr Mihaela Bucur, works there and was speaking about her role for the first time. I look forward to hearing more from her.I wish you all the best for 2019. I'm keen to continue to get out and about across the UK and meet as many of you as possible so if you have a Premier Inn nearby then please send me an invitation.