Spring is on the way
22 February, 2019
Here we are nearly at the end of February, where did the month go? We are heading fast to spring, the relatively mild weather means that I already have snowdrops, crocuses and miniature irises in my Yorkshire garden. Let’s hope that we aren’t due for another Beast from the East this year...
Adopt a med student today
A highlight of the past month was a visit to Nottingham for a celebration of PsychStart, a scheme that provides career-based mentoring for medical students interested in psychiatry. They have over 50 students matched with Psychiatrist mentors across the region. It was a lovely evening in the company of dedicated psychiatrists and enthusiastic students. This is something that every medical school should have, and we’ll be sharing details to encourage this as well as other initiatives that medical schools could implement to ensure students have the best possible experience of psychiatry.
Pace and scale
There has been lots happening in London this month. Work on implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan for England is proceeding at what is called “pace and scale”. I am representing the College on the overarching group on the Medical workforce. I am also leading a group for Health Education England on the use of Physicians Associates in the Mental Health Workforce. I am meeting PAs more and more on my travels and a growing number of them are interested in working with us. We have produced some FAQs on the role and how it fits in mental health service, please have a look at these and share with your colleagues.
I hope that you are learning to find your way around about our fabulous new website. Can I point you towards our pages on Social Inclusion? There is lots of useful information about how to support our patients (DOCX) and practical tips such as how to write reports to provide evidence for our patients who are applying for Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
This month sees the launch of our Twitter Book Club. The first meeting will take place on the 26th of February between 7 and 8pm. We will be discussing one of my favourite books, Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon, best-selling author and psychiatrist. The book tells the story of 84-year-old Florence who has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, she considers the charming new resident who looks exactly like a man she once knew – a man who died sixty years ago. His arrival stirs distant memories and lying on the floor Florence considers a terrible secret from her past and wonders if it is about to come to light...
Thinking of books, we are still looking for audits for the next edition of the very popular College book “101 Recipes for Audit”. Please send details of any audits you would like to have included in the book with the aim of sharing practical advice for carrying out audits across a range of settings and services.
Improving NHS staff wellbeing
February also saw the launch of the Health Education England’s NHS Staff and Learners' Mental Wellbeing Report. I sat on the commission that oversaw this piece of work which had a strong input from psychiatrists. It was a fascinating and at times harrowing experience. We heard from staff working in the NHS whose health has been negatively affected by experiences at work and from several families bereaved by the death of a loved one who ended their life while in the employment of the NHS.
We also heard from many areas of best practice where colleague wellbeing is supported and championed. It makes a number of recommendations that will improve our health and wellbeing. As always, the challenge will be the implementation, it has the full support of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the College will be pushing to ensure that it doesn’t lie on a dusty shelf (or whatever the internet equivalent is) but actually leads to change. Improving the wellbeing and retention of Psychiatrists is vital if we are to deliver the high quality of care that our patients deserve.