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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

RCPsych in Wales monthly update

The autumn is a very busy time for us in Wales. We're gearing up to our annual joint event with the Welsh Psychiatric Society, taking place on 24 November in Swansea. This year’s theme is Advances in Psychiatric Practice and we're looking forward to welcoming Professor Wendy Burn to Wales in her new role as President.

We're also busy organising our annual Young People’s Debate with a number of High Schools in South Wales, to take place in early December. And we're organising a second joint seminar with the Welsh Government on Working Together – a workshop session to look at pupil pathways into mental health services. Over 80 people from a range of professions (education, primary care, CAMHS, social services) will be split into facilitated workgroups (by locality) to discuss presentation and pathways for two theoretical case studies. It provides an opportunity for attendees to share examples of best practice and discuss possible solutions to issues and concerns in a confidential space.

In terms of the work that we've already carried out, we've submitted a response to the Health Committee’s inquiry into proposals set in the Public Health (Minimum Unit Pricing) (Wales) Bill and our new Addictions Faculty Chair, Dr Ranjini Rao, has been invited to give oral evidence to the Committee next week alongside the BMA and the Royal College of Physicians.

We've drafted a response to the proposals for an Autism Bill in Wales. The proposals are from Paul Davies, AM who would like to enshrine in law duties on local authorities and health boards on how they organise local services and support for autistic people and their families. The deadline for responses is 20 November.

We have held three Faculty Conferences/meetings: the Forensic Faculty Conference, with an update on the National Collaborative Commissioning Unit; the Child and Adolescent Faculty Conference, the last with our current Chair Professor Alka Ahuja, with an update from Dr Clare Lamb (SLAM) on the London infant and Family team; the Eating Disorders Faculty meeting with the new ED Faculty Chair, Dr Jacinta Tan, where we discussed the annual UK event to be held next year in Cardiff.

We attended the Crisis Care Concordat Task and Finish Group at the Welsh Government. This group was due to be disbanded in March but all agreed that there was benefit in the group (signatories of the CCC) to continue to monitor the progression of Local Area Delivery Plans.

We lead on the Young People’s Mental Health Policy Network and had a meeting to discuss the work undertaken so far and where we can now focus our efforts to press for policy improvements, particularly around prevention and early intervention. The T4CYP Programme has rightly focused on specialists services, injecting a lot of money to improving pathways, increasing resources, and boosting services. We now need to see more done in the mild to moderate end of mental health in children. The meeting was attended by BASW, RCPCH, the Children’s Commissioner and Citizen’s Advice.

A lot has taken place around recruitment and retention. We met with the BMA’s Head of Public Affairs to discuss ways that we can work together to help promote psychiatry, which involves supporting their own campaign to improve recruitment into medicine and tying into the College's Choose Psychiatry campaign. We attended a psychiatry workforce sub group meeting at Welsh Government and we met with the Welsh Conservative Health spokesperson to gain her support in highlighting the importance of psychiatry. We held a successful Trainee Forum and a number of medical students attended.

After last year’s success we held not one but two primary school debates with Years 5 and 6 students from 20 primary schools in Cardiff. The motion was, “This House believes that you should speak about your feelings”. The Children's Commissioner opened both debates and joined us for a lovely networking lunch in between debates.

We attended the launch of the Assembly's perinatal mental health services report. Dr Sue Smith came along, as did Professor Ian Jones – both had given oral evidence to the Committee in June. This week we submitted a letter to the Cabinet Secretary urging him to accept all of the Committee’s recommendations. We also attended the Assembly’s Cross Party Group on Eating Disorders where we agreed we would draft a letter to the Chief Medical Officer around the Obesity Strategy. This is currently in draft form and will be circulated to other CPG members.

Finally, the ED, C&A and GA Faculty Chairs all met to discuss the way forward with rolling out the new Transitions Guidance for Professionals. We plan to hold a workshop at the next GA Faculty Conference on 23 February to explore the issues that are stopping good practice. 

We hope to see many of you at our event next week!


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