Marking the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II
29 September, 2022
We've all been incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Britain's longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
Following 70 years of dedicated public service, we are immensely grateful for the steadfast support she has provided, especially to the NHS and health sector during the pandemic.
This month, the College has observed the national period of mourning, and we've extended our deepest sympathies to our Patron, His Majesty King Charles III. As we all transition into this new era, we would like to thank the whole Royal Family for their support of the College's work.
The College decided to abandon its Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on Thursday 8 September, following the sad announcement. I felt that as a royal college it would not have been appropriate to continue with the meeting in the knowledge of the sad news. I'd like to thank members for their understanding. You can read our full statement on my decision on our website.
New Government, same challenges
Earlier this month, the College congratulated Liz Truss on her appointment as Prime Minister. I look forward to working with the new government, including Dr Thérèse Coffey, whose been appointed as the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and Deputy Prime Minister.
Dr Coffey's recent statement in the House of Commons, and accompanying policy document Our plan for patients sets out the Government's plans for patients to receive easier access to NHS and social care this winter. Following its publication, the College issued a statement welcoming her renewed commitment to publish a long-term NHS workforce plan, but emphasised that we must also have a fully funded mental health recovery plan to ensure patients can access care when they need it.
As has been widely reported, the cost of living is by far the biggest challenge in the new government's in-tray. I've been warning that food insecurity, fuel poverty, debt and loneliness and isolation poses a threat of huge proportions to the nation's mental health. Many of you will be among those affected, and I hope that any members who need it will reach out for support.
As a College we've recently launched a survey to try to understand how the rise in living costs affects patients' mental health, and the impact it has on services. We're asking College members to fill it out to help us track changes in demand. Please do take the time to fill it out.
Support for Pakistan
We are heartbroken by the tragedy and devastation caused by the flooding in Sindh Province. On behalf of the College, I'd like to express my support and friendship to the people of Pakistan, as well as their families at home and abroad.
The flooding has now claimed nearly 1,600 lives and has impacted 33 million people out of 220 million population. As a College we've extended our support to the Pakistan Psychiatric Society, as well as the British-Pakistani Psychiatrists Assocation. We'd like to encourage all Members and Fellows who are able to consider donating to the Disasters Emergency Committee's (DEC) appeal.
Next month I'll be attending the Volunteering and International Psychiatry Special Interest Group (VIPSIG) Annual Day Conference. The VIPSIG do incredibly important work promoting and supporting mental health accessibility to all regardless of location and means. The theme of the conference is “Volunteering Preparedness” and inspirational speakers from a variety of backgrounds have been confirmed, focusing on volunteering both internationally and with underserved populations in the UK.
It was fantastic to have been invited to the Psychiatric Trainees Conference earlier this month where I was asked to speak about my presidential priorities. I highlighted how trainees are absolutely vital to achieving parity of esteem, putting sustainability at the heart of all we do, championing equality, diversity and inclusion and the wellbeing of our workforce.
It was fantastic to see new representatives for their committee, including the new Chair, Dr Chris Walsh, Vice-chair, Dr Gemma Buston and Secretary, Dr John Moore.
Even as we move beyond our life as trainees, we are constantly learning. I wanted to draw your attention to the work of the Personalised Care Institute (PCI) who are encouraging health and care professionals to complete its free shared decision-making eLearning refresher to respond to changing patient expectations.
It follows new GP Patient Survey data showing that a record 44.6% of patients want more involvement in their healthcare decisions. The free refresher module takes just 30 minutes to complete and is online and accessible 24/7. Those who complete it will also receive a Certificate of Learning to claim CPD points.
The race begins
I'd like to finish this month's blog post by wishing good luck to the three candidates who are standing in the 2022/23 Presidential election; Dr Kate Lovett, Professor Russell Razzaque and Dr Lade Smith CBE. Please take the time to learn more about the candidates on our dedicated page, and I encourage all of you to take part in the upcoming hustings and Q&A.
Voting will open on 14 December 2022.
This blog post was part of our September 2022 eNewsletter.