“Openness is the next priority”

14 February 2018.

Dear Dr Crichton,
Many thanks for this perspective and I wish you all the best in your period of office as Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland.

You state in your Update of August 2017 that “openness is the next priority.” However your update of August 2017 is not open to the public but only to members of the College. Your Update begins with this demand “Please note the following is for your information only and should not be used or duplicated elsewhere.”

I share your support for Realistic Medicine. I was disappointed then, that at the recent  RCPsych Winter Meeting (January 2018) which had “Realistic Psychiatry” in its title that Realistic Medicine was given 3 minutes and the rest of the day long meeting was given over to “improvement science”. I would suggest that this is another form of disparity.

I share this ambition “one aspect, which is natural to us, is the involvement of patients in realistic choices” . Yet, in the Scottish Press you have referred to those who have offered experience of psychiatric medications as “demonisers”. Perhaps such experience is  considered as merely “subjective” reflecting the “subjective-objective divide” that I understand remains part our profession’s educational curriculum?

Evidence comes in many forms, including that of experience. To improve care we need to listen. Meantime it is the case that UK Psychiatry listens, as mandatory CPD, to influential key opinion leaders who often have competing financial interests.

The Royal College of Psychiatry has demonstrated no support for Sunshine legislation. Even though the Scottish public support such.

As Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland do you support a mandatory, open access, independent register for declaring competing interests?

Please can I ask if you might consider making your “updates” open to all? Both Simon Wessely and Wendy Burn have done so in their College roles.

Kindest wishes

Peter J Gordon
(writing in a personal capacity)

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