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

RCPsych in Wales e-Newsletter - Winter/Spring 2013




Message from Rob Poole, Chair, RCPsych in Wales

Rob Poole, Chair, RCPsych in WalesHappy New Year to all of our colleagues in Wales!


I have been in post as Chair for 5 months, which has been just long enough to realise what a demanding job it is. Luckily, Helen Matthews, Siobhan, Manel and the Executive Committee have been generously supportive whilst I have tried to find my feet.  I have to confess that so far I cannot really claim to have achieved very much. I have spent a lot of time on the Wrexham-Cardiff train, which is uncomfortable and slow. Its main redeeming feature is the tea trolley man who claims to sell sea snake venom and ferret snouts.


Sitting on College Council has been interesting. I enjoyed the process of deciding to purchase the College’s new home in the East End of London, very close to Cable Street. In less exciting moments, my attention has drifted to the portraits of the Past Presidents of the College around the boardroom walls and up the stairs. I have known, or at least met, all of them except Sir Desmond Pond (I don’t think it was anything personal). This makes me feel old and thoroughly assimilated into the Establishment. It has strengthened my resolve to exercise my main Committee skill (noisy awkwardness) and to try to keep a focus on the impact of austerity on service users living circumstances and mental health.


As is traditional at this time of year, I am obliged to say that we live in turbulent times, and that psychiatrists face major challenges in the next 12 months. This time around, it’s revalidation, the implementation of the Measure, the Strategy, the Francis report, shrinking services, and, of course, events - to name but a few.


It seems very unlikely that 2013 will be boring!

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Dr Tom Brown, the new Associate Registrar for Recruitment aims to develop a strategy that targets medical students and foundation doctorsWe are focusing on this area. We are delighted so many people have become involved in the recruitment campaign and following our recruitment meetings in 2012, we have formed an action plan for recruitment and retention in Wales. We have attended Cardiff Med Soc Careers fair and been actively involved in psych reconfiguration plans at the Wales Deanery.


The next meeting of the Recruitment and Retention group will be Friday 8 March, 2.30 - 4.30, VSAC Room, Ground Floor, Baltic House, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff


If you would like to become involved in this campaign, or would like a copy of the action plan, please contact


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RCPsych in Wales & Betsi Cadwaladr University Health BoardBCUHB

Mental Health Conferences for Approved Clinicians and Section 12 (2) Doctors

  • 21 February - Holiday Inn Hotel, Newport
  • 28 February - Catrin Finch Centre, Glyndwr University, Wrexham

These events are free to attend

The registration form and programme are now available to download.


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The Mental Health (Wales) Measure - what are your experiences so far?

Mental Health (Wales) MeasureRCPsych in Wales would like to produce a position paper on the Mental Health (Wales) Measure to the Welsh Government, highlighting the practical implications experienced by Psychiatrists across the faculties throughout Wales since its implementation. Although the new legislation has had little time to bed in, many working in mental health services have already begun to experience changes in their working practices and how services are being delivered.


In order to construct a robust and meaningful paper, we need to gather your views to better understand the impact of these changes. Our intention is not to provide the Government with a list of complaints; instead we aim to draw attention to the issues that have arisen since its implementation and to propose solutions to these issues within the confines of the law. We feel that this may enable the Welsh Government to provide further support and guidance. The Paper would also bring to light commonalities in the experiences of Colleagues, which could provide the beginnings of a forum for problem sharing and problem solving. Furthermore, we also believe that in the absence of concrete monitoring of the Measure, this would set a benchmark for measuring improvements over time.


We are very keen to hear from you. Please email by 30 January 2013. Your views will remain anonymous.


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'Together for Mental Health' A Strategy for Mental Health and Wellbeing in Wales

'Together for Mental Health' A Strategy for Mental Health and Wellbeing in WalesRob Poole, Chair, RCPsych in Wales has ben invited to sit on the new National Mental Health Partnership Board (NPB) which has a key role in overseeing and ensuring implementation of the Strategy and Delivery Plan within Welsh Government.  The remit of the Board is to help drive the improvements in mental health and wellbeing to which Welsh Government aspire.

If you have any observations on the delivery of the Strategy that you would like to bring to the Board, please contact


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Information on ‘Safer Mental Health Services: a toolkit’

BMA: Safeguarding vulnerable adults Inquiry launch safer mental health services toolkit


The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness has launched a toolkit mental health care practitioners can use to self-assess their local services and individual practice against key Inquiry recommendations.


These recommendations are based on the work the Inquiry has carried out over the last decade. It’s free to download.



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Diary Date

RCPsych logo

'The Future of Psychiatry'

Friday 17 May 2013

Village Hotel, Swansea

Further details of this event will be emailed once they are available.


Welsh Psychiatric Society - Evidence in Practic

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NSAG and National Forum

The NSAG – Mental Health has been re-launched as a multidisciplinary structure initially hosted by the College in Wales.  The NSAG’s first role will be to respond to the Mental Health Strategy.  Additionally, the NSAG will be offering advice to Health Boards on their separate clinical strategies – the major NSAG’s were invited by the Minister to form a National Forum to undertake this work.


The NSAG - Mental Health has responded to BCUHB and Hywel Dda individual Strategy consultations and will respond to further strategies as they are put out to consultation.

Public Health Green Paper -  The Minister for Health and Social Services has published a Public Health Green Paper for consultation to gather views about whether or not the Welsh Government should introduce a Bill to improve the health of the people of Wales. The consultation is open until 20th February 2013. The RCPsych in Wales will also be contributing to this important proposal.


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RCPsych in Wales: Policy Update 2012 -  Manel Tippett

With the devolution of more powers to the National Assembly for Wales in 2012, the RCPsych in Wales plans to continue to concentrate on developing the policy work. more

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Food for Thought

'An overview of Living and Working in Wales' - Dr Victor Aziz, Consultant Psychiatrist, Cwm Taf Local Health Board


Medical Student Career EveningOver the years, Wales has built a reputation for professionalism with a thorough, friendly and discrete approach. The National Health Service is Wales' largest employer. In Wales the seven Health Boards are the NHS bodies responsible for planning and delivering health services in their geographical areas: Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board;  Aneurin Bevan Health Board; Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board; Cardiff and Vale Health Board;  Hywel Dda Health Board; and Powys Teaching Health Board. The NHS-Wales is supported by other agencies.  Read more......


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Role of the health workforce in tackling health inequalities: action on the social determinants of healthThe Centre for Workforce Intelligence (CfWI) is undertaking the in-depth review of the psychiatry workforce. Dr Giles Harborne, in his role as Workforce Lead, RCPsych in Wales is contributing to the review.

The College is Wales will be undertaking an individual census for 2013 based on the RCPsych in Scotland model.  This detailed data will then be used for workforce planning specifically for Wales.



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Psychiatrist of the Month - Dr Mike Shooter, Consultant Psychiatrist (Retired) and past President, RCPsych

An informal and interesting interview with the 'person behind the psychiatrist'

Dr Mike Shooter, Consultant Psychiatrist (Retired) and past President, RCPsychI was conceived in Aberystwyth but born and raised in the Peak District of Derbyshire - my parents having fled for the border. After a History and Law degree, I became a newspaper reporter, teacher, bus-driver, gardener and a host of other things, then went back via science "O Levels" to Cambridge and Medicine.


I worked with families in Cardiff and the Valleys for thirty years and was the first Child Psychiatrist to become President of the College. In clinical retirement, I have chaired YoungMinds, the Mental Health Foundation and Children-in-Wales and have just been elected President of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.


I am married to an ex-Headteacher from the Gower and have four grown-up children, eight growing-up grandchildren and one (thankfully) growing-down depressive disorder.


1.Tell us something about yourself that other people do not know.


I’ve admitted to having a recurrent depressive disorder, many times and in public. But I also have a secret OCD. I’m just a bundle of neuroses!


Read full interview......

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Health for Health Professionals Service Development

Psychodynamic PsychotherapyHealth for Health Professionals Wales was implemented in August 2012 and provides a face to face counselling service for all doctors in Wales. It provides doctors with access to a BABCP (British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies) accredited therapist in their area. The service is funded by the Welsh Government.

To the support development of this service, Health for Health Professionals Wales are planning a one day workshop for Psychiatrists, Occupational Heath Physicians and General Practitioners who are interested in developing their expertise in Physicians Health further. The workshop will take place on March 20th 2013.

The aim of the day is to update clinicians about physician health with key speakers from Psychiatry, Occupational Health, the GMC and the RCGP and to start to develop a regional network of support.   The training is free and will take place in Cardiff (venue to be confirmed). To book a place, please email

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Autism Passport – About Me

Autism Passport – About MeDr Alka Ahuja, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Anuerin Bevan Health Board and Chair, Faculty of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales

This Autism Passport (About Me) was developed with advice and support from professionals involved in the diagnostic assessment process and most significantly with advice and support from parents and young people. Families and children/young people with a diagnosis of autism were at the centre of this project and were involved from the outset in the development of the passport. Read more...

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'Psychiatry at the Coalface' - conference - 30 January 2013, Cardiff City Stadium

'Psychiatry at the Coalface' - conference - 30 January 2013, Cardiff City StadiumThe BMA in association with the RCPsych in Wales are hosting this event which will explore the impact of the Mental Health (Wales) Measure on specialty services, both in the NHS and Independent sector.

This event is free to attend

Further information can be downloaded/viewed here.

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Science in Health Lecture:  Is it time for War on Mental Illness

Research study Cardiff University

Speaker: Professor Mike Owen, School of Medicine, Cardiff University

Part of the Science in Health Public Lecture Series organised by Cardiff University's School of Medicine.

Talk Summary: Psychiatric disorders have a major public health impact, affecting 16.7 million people in the UK with total costs estimated at £77 billion per year. Current treatments are at best palliative, often ineffective and associated with a variety of unpleasant side-effects. Mental illness continues to be stigmatised and one of the consequences is that mental health research is grossly underfunded in comparison to other major classes of disorder. However, recent advances in genetics, psychology and neurosciences mean that we now have strong clues as to the likely brain mechanisms involved and the tools to investigate these further. As well as resources, the "War on Mental Illness" will require a change in mindset for many. We will need to remember that these severe disorders are brain diseases which are tractable to scientific research and which will ultimately be treatable.

These lectures attract a diverse audience of interested individuals including the public, secondary school students and professionals. The lectures are free to attend and booking is not required - please arrive promptly to ensure a seat. Please note that the start time for lectures has been changed to 7pm this year. 

There are opportunities for sixth form students to meet with some of the speakers before the lectures - please contact  

To see videos of previous lectures please visit this website

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Faculty of Medical Psychotherapy Psychiatry update - Dr Daniel Anderson

There were good results in the UK psychotherapy training survey for basic psychiatric trainees. The faculty is exploring and encouraging dual training at CCT level as a way to preserve psychotherapy. The All Wales Psychotherapy Conference will be held on 21 June 2013 in Llangollen, Denbighshire and is titled:


How do we get psychologically-minded care in Wales?

How can psychotherapy survive and grow despite political and economic challenges and threats?

The Welsh Government is currently engaged in a project called 'Psychological Therapies Review of Access' which is based around the recent published document called 'Psychological Therapies in Wales'.

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National Centre for Mental Health - Research Update


National centre for mental health established for Wales The National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH), through the Wales Mental Health Network, has now recruited almost 800 volunteers from across Wales to take part in research into mental health conditions, including:


  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder, e.g. autism and Asperger's syndrome
  • Bipolar Disorder or manic depression
  • Schizophrenia or psychosis
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Dementia, e.g. Alzheimer's disease

To access Mental Health and Medication Wales, to find out more about research, or to volunteer to take part in research, please visit the NCMH website.


NCMH Launches Mental Health and Medication Wales Website

To support people in Wales to make informed choices about mental health medications, the National Centre for Mental Health and Bipolar Education Programme have launched a new website. The website provides easy to understand information. Read more....

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Cardiff Winter School in Psychiatry 2012 – Feedback

Cardiff Winter School 2012Research study Cardiff UniversityAs part of the College’s recruitment strategy it was suggested that each division should organise a summer school for medical students interested in psychiatry to try and draw them into the specialty. Not wanting to follow the herd, in November 2012 Cardiff hosted the first Winter School in Psychiatry with aims to introduce students to the importance of psychiatry in modern medicine and the wider society. The event ran over two days with a film viewing on Friday night followed by a day of seminars and activities on Saturday involving service users and psychiatrists from a range of disciplines and grades.


The event was well attended with over 60 students braving torrential rain to attend the Friday night and Saturday being fully booked with 40 students attending. Feedback was very positive with most students saying that it had exceeded their expectations. They particularly appreciated the opportunity to hear service user stories and meet up with psychiatrists to find out more about the various careers psychiatry has to offer.


We would be keen to hear from anyone  interested in getting involved in the future or with ideas to enhance the Winter School. 


We would like to thank everyone who gave up their time to take part. We aim to run the Winter School again in the future and hope for an even greater response.


Dr Paul Emmerson and Dr James Walters


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'U Can Cope' - Dr Alys Cole-King, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist, BCUHB

'U Can Cope' - Dr Alys Cole-King, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist, BCUHBThe U Can Cope coalition now includes more than one hundred UK organisations - from mental health bodies to the Professional Cricketers’ Association - to spread the message that it is possible to overcome suicidal thoughts and feelings and that there are many resources available to help those who are struggling to cope.


The main partners are Connecting with People, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Samaritans and Southwick Media.  Southwick Media is the media partner of the U can Cope initiative...Read more...

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New Appointments

  • Dr Mathew Sargeant - Finance Officer, RCPsych in Wales
  • Dr Alka Ahuja - Chair, Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, RCPsych in Wales
  • Dr Ray Jacques - Chair, Faculty of Intellectual Disability, RCPsych in Wales
  • Dr Raman Sakhuja - Chair, Faculty of General and Community Psychiatry, RCPsych in Wales
  • Dr Daniel Anderson - Chair, Faculty of Medical Psychotherapy, RCPsych in Wales
  • Dr Clare Lamb - Public Education/Policy Officer
  • Dr Rhys Bevan-Jones - Public Education/Media Officer

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  • Regional Representative, Faculty of General Adult and Community Psychiatry, RCPsych in Wales - closing date Friday 1 Feburary 2013. Job description

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RCPsych in Wales - Faculty meeting dates

  • Faculty of Medical Psychotherapy -  16 January 2013
  • Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry - Friday 19 April 2013, Llangarmarch Wells



The Faculty of General & Community Psychiatry - Call for input

Structure update

Dr Raman Sakhuja has been co-opted as Chair of the Faculty in Wales along with 3 Elected members; Dr Divya Sakhuja, Dr Somashekara Shrivashankar and Dr Premraj Muthuvela.  A meeting was held in December 2012 to discuss possible direction for the newly formed Faculty structure during 2013.  It was proposed that a small academic meeing be organised with a business meeting at the end of the day.

We are now canvassing opinion around how sucessful/well attended such a meeting would be, or indeed if members of this Faculty in Wales think this would be a worthwhile avenue to pursue?  Please could you send your intial comments to

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RCPsych in Wales Executive Committee dates 2013

The Executive Committee dates for 2013 are confirmed as:

  • Friday 8 March
  • Friday 14 June
  • Friday 27 September
  • Friday 13 December 

All meetings will take place between 10.30 and 14.30 in the VSAC room, Ground Floor, Baltic House, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff.

If you would like to raise an item at a meeting, please could you email in the first instance.

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A Complete guide to 'who's - who' at the RCPsych in Wales

Download PDF document.

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Get Involved!

If you would like to submit an article, publicise an event or be involved with in any work of the RCPsych in Wales, please contact Siobhan Conway

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