Dean's 2022 update

Our Dean Professor Subodh Dave gives an update on the work of his team of Associate Deans, Advisers and staff and outlines his five key priorities going forward.

It has been a privilege to serve as your Dean since June 2021. Personally, I have found it an energising experience largely fuelled by the humbling awareness of the humongous amount of work being done for the College by colleagues across the country.

I want to start my update by thanking my indefatigable team of Associate Deans, Specialist Advisers and staff members of the College who beaver away in the background. The success of the Education and Training Team is down to their persistent efforts.

Dean’s key priorities

My overarching vision is to explicitly link the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ education and training offer with patient outcomes. I intend to translate this idea to action through the following five key priorities:

The best measure of our education and training offer should be based on how it improves outcomes for the sections of our population that are left behind. We have seen health inequalities for many of our patients persist for decades.

Poverty, co-morbid conditions such as substance misuse and chronic physical health conditions are all contributors to these inequalities. Ethnicity, gender and other protected characteristics can add yet another layer of inequity.

I believe that understanding and addressing the factors that cause and perpetuate these inequalities needs to be a part of our core education and training offer. Our new curricula now include a set of new key capabilities that will help our workforce acquire public mental health and person-centred care skills to narrow the health inequality gap.

a.   I have secured funding for a Health Inequalities Fellow and for Supervisor time to supervise the Fellow. The job Description for Health Education England-funded Fellow in Health Inequalities has been advertised and appointed to. The Fellow will commence in post this autumn.
b.   Our six CCT specialty curricula pilots took place in February 2022 and full implementation for the majority of trainees commenced in August 2022. This will provide a whole life span lens to addressing health inequalities.

Learners have varying needs based on their personal and professional circumstances. It is vital that our training offer creates an alignment between what our learners need and what our patients need. I have commenced the process of mapping all our educational content and to launch training courses that will upskill the workforce in areas where there is a clinical need.

a.   We are launching the first RCPsych Certificate Course on Autism, Developmental Disorders and the Criminal Justice System. This course is almost fully subscribed.
b.   Scoping exercise for our International Diploma offer has been completed and I am hoping to provide details of our first ever Diploma in early 2023. In conjunction with the Public Mental Health Implementation Centre, I also hope to launch a Certificate course in Public Mental Health in 2023.
c.   Centre for Advanced Learning and Conferences has had another busy and successful year. International Congress 2022 has had record number of registrations and this follows our full online Conference in 2021, which had more than 3,300 registered delegates and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. The College webinar series remains very popular. We had 52 webinars last year with more than 25,000 registered attendees.
a.   It is estimated that translation of academic evidence to clinical practice can take as long as 15-20 years. It is vital that each of us considers narrowing the evidence-practice gap as an integral part of our working life. With this aim in mind, I have introduced Dean’s Grand Rounds.
Co-hosted by a Faculty and a Division/Devolved Nation, the Grand Rounds will feature four key elements:
  i.  Lived experience narrative
 ii.  Academic evidence
iii.  Wider population/public health level impact
iv.  Quality Improvement project to narrow the gap between evidence and practice.
The first Grand Rounds, co-hosted by the Addictions Faculty and the West Midlands Division, held on 16 June attracted over 700 delegates. So far, we have five more confirmed Grand Rounds pairs between Divisions/Nations and Faculties.
b.   Being an academic clinician is a serious endeavour but learning can (and some may argue should) be fun. To showcase the diverse and versatile science that Psychiatry is, I launched RCPsych MindMasters, our new InterNation/Inter-Division Annual Psychiatry Quiz. Featuring 12 teams, the live heats were held on 21 and 22 June 2022 at the RCPsych International Congress and were a veritable celebration of the richness of Psychiatry as an academic subject. The finals featuring London, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will be held at Prescot Street on 28 November 2022.
c.   The MRCPsych is a much coveted honour largely as it is also a measure of our academic rigour. As part of the Assessment Strategy Review, our core curriculum has been mapped against our assessment tools and this will enhance our assurance of the capabilities we expect our trainees to acquire through their training. While the digitisation of the exams has been a successful endeavour, the comprehensive review will help us decide whether continuing with the digital CASC exam is the right option or not. The review will also look at ways of optimising Work Place Based Assessments and will feature strategies to address Differential Attainment.
d.   The digital CASC completion rate remains very high at 99% in the January 2022 cohort. The growth in written exam candidate numbers also looks set to continue in 2022 and beyond. We have had a significant expansion to our Examiner numbers after a successful recruitment drive.
e.   RCPsych has now formally partnered with NIHR on its Associate PI scheme opening up more academic opportunities for our workforce.
a.   Recruitment remains strong and we have developed a strong case for continued increase in training numbers at both core and higher trainee levels. Numbers remain embargoed at the time of writing this but I can assure that the overall recruitment figures are extremely pleasing at core training level though we have much work to do for higher training.
b.   Our new Eating Disorders credential was oversubscribed sevenfold. Credential training for 30 colleagues will commence later this year.
c.   Nine new run-through training posts in Intellectual disability have all been filled.
d.   The RCPsych Medical Training Initiative (MTI) scheme is in its eighth year and received 117 applications from experienced doctors from 18 different countries. Applications from Employing Bodies are still being received and the MTI team have so far confirmed 32 placements across the UK.
e.   Applications for the 2022 cohort of Psychiatry Foundation Fellowships have closed and the 123 applications have been marked and quality assured and the UKFPO is in the process of offering these posts.
f.   A revised edition of the Guide to Psychiatry in the Foundation Programme has been drafted and approved for publication shortly.
g.   International Medical Graduates (IMGs) remain a large part of our workforce. I am proud to share the fabulous guide for IMGs produced by the hard work of the Psychiatric Trainees' Committee working in conjunction with the Trainees’ Support Committee and with the MTI team.
a.   It is vital that as a College we engage with schools of psychiatry and also with local education providers such as Trusts and Health Boards. I have therefore launched a network of Directors of Medical Education – Drs Roshelle Ramkisson and Dr Jeremy Mudunkotuwe have been appointed as co-Chairs of this network.
b.   While we have Specialty Advisory Committee (SAC) Chairs for each of the higher training specialties and some subspecialties, we have not had a SAC Chair to oversee the core curriculum. I have now created a new post of Core Training Advisory Committee Chair to oversee core training across the UK. The post-holder will report to the Associate Dean for Curricula and will provide liaison with Core Training TPDs and with MRCPsych Course organisers across the UK.
c.   Substance misuse comorbidity is extremely common and yet we have seen a decline in Addictions services and training in Addictions has been adversely impacted. The Addictions Steering Group, which created the report Training in Addiction Psychiatry: Current Status and Future Prospects is transitioning to a Specialist Advisory Committee and will oversee what I hope will be a significant expansion in training opportunities in Addictions.
d.   It is vital that as a College, we engage with our key constituents – viz. Training Programme Directors and College Tutors. Our new Deanery/LETB Hub provides information about the new curricula and enables notification of MRCPsych course organisers, College Tutors and Training Programme Directors.

It is an absolute pleasure and a huge honour for me to serve you as your Dean. I am immensely grateful for your support and look forward to working with you over the coming years.

Professor Subodh Dave, Dean
October 2022

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