Northern Ireland chair's blog: September 2018
14 September, 2018
The season of mist and mellow fruitfulness is upon us and the work of RCPsych NI continued apace throughout September.
Firstly, I should mention that we are seeking nominations for a number of positions on the Executive Committee. I would encourage members to consider putting their names forward as this is an exciting time for the College locally.
My thanks also to those members who will be demitting office and full details on the election process can be found on the College's webpage.
Research, Audit and Quality Improvement Day
Our annual Research, Audit and Quality Improvement Day on 26 September was an undoubted success. The McCracken Suite was again at full capacity as the judges considered three entries for the research prize, with six members entering the audit/quality improvement category.
Our guest speaker was Dr Derek Tracy who captivated the audience with his presentation entitled: 'Becoming human: the evolution of consciousness across 200 million years'.
With less than 45 minutes to cover 200 million years, Derek’s highly-entertaining lecture gave us a novel insight into how our brains have developed, what has made us human, and how that links with psychopathology. He brought a light-hearted approach to what can be a complex area and his talk was very well received.
Regarding the competition itself, each presentation was of the highest standard, thought-provoking and engaging. Dr Niall Corrigan was successful in the research category with his presentation which explored the experience of panel members sitting on mental health review tribunals, while Dr Vivian Sing took the honours in the audit/quality improvement section with her overview of a project to improve adherence to DVLA guidance on driving and ADHD.
My congratulations go to both Niall and Vivian and, indeed, to all the participants for the excellent work they are doing. I would thank also Drs Ruth Barr, Conor Barton and Aidan Turkington for acting as judges and, as ever, Professor Ciaran Mulholland for his expert chairing on the day. Pictured above are myself, Ciaran Mulholland, Aidan Turkington and Derek Tracy, with Vivian and Niall in the foreground.)
The Freeman Prize, which is normally awarded as part of this event, will instead be awarded at the conference organised by NIASP to celebrate their 30th anniversary. That will take place in October and, looking at the programme, I think this will be a really interesting event.
Department of Health - Multi-disciplinary Teams
On 25 September, I hosted a meeting with Dr Ian McMaster and Rodney Morton of the DoH to discuss the introduction of multi-disciplinary teams, including mental health workers, into primary care.
Drs Michael Doherty, Saleem Tareen and Richard Wilson attended the meeting also and whilst we are supportive of the initiative there are concerns for any impact it might have on secondary care staffing recruitment and retention. Our concerns were acknowledged, as too were several governance issues we raised. We hope to widen the discussion with our colleagues in general practice and meet again with the Department in early 2019.
Professor Louise Dubras - Ulster University Medical School
Later that day, both myself and Dr Doherty had a most useful meeting with Professor Louise Dubras of Ulster University. Louise is the Foundation Dean at the university’s new medical school based at the Magee campus. Previously, Louise had worked in King’s College where she oversaw a revision to the undergraduate curriculum which promoted greater links between physical and mental health.
She is very keen to engage with psychiatrists locally to explore how greater integration between primary and secondary care can be embedded within the undergraduate curriculum. I hope to have further meetings with Louise and will keep you abreast of developments.
Top marks to QUB