The current edition of INSIGHT, the magazine of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, celebrates 25 years since the College opened its doors in Scotland. This anniversary spans the same period of time that I was a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
My career as a doctor is now coming towards an end. What I find myself celebrating is the learning and sharing I have had with so many people and the kindness that has been shown throughout my career by patients, carers and colleagues. I have been fortunate to benefit from feedback from those that I have tried to help in a time of need.
It is welcome to see the Scottish Division of the College celebrate 25 years, although I am no longer a member.
The progress made by the College in Scotland, as outlined in the INSIGHT magazine, includes: “a powerful voice in parliament”, “reducing harm” and “louder together”.
Through this time period I have tried, as an NHS Scotland Psychiatrist, to champion for ethics to be central for my profession. I have also campaigned for a Sunshine Act for Scotland and took this to Parliament through a petition. A Sunshine Act would make it mandatory for full public disclosure of competing financial interests for doctors, healthcare workers and academics. My petition was closed 3 years ago following a public consultation. This consultation established that the majority of those consulted agreed that a Sunshine Act was necessary. However the Scottish Government has chosen to ignore the views of those consulted and no legislation has been introduced.
I have also been a prominent supporter of Realistic Medicine, the initiative of Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer. This has included important issues such as “fully informed consent” and “duty of candour”.
Unfortunately the public have not found support from the College in Scotland for Sunshine Legislation and my personal experience of raising concerns about over-medicalisation has been that it has been detrimental to my career. I do hope the next 25 years of the College in Scotland will ensure that a “powerful voice in parliament” and “reducing harm” do indeed honour the ambition “louder together”.