In November 2019 I was informed that the Royal College of Psychiatrists was worried that my ideas were “over-valued”. The same day the College shared its full response to the recent General Medical Council report on the well-being of doctors:
Also that day, Dr Adrian James, Registrar of the Royal College of Psychiatrists gave a talk on ‘Workforce Wellbeing’:
The Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Kate Lovett, offered this thought: “So important that seniors role model this and fight hard for future generations coming up behind. A sustainable workforce is one which prizes its own health and wellbeing and looks out for each other.”
Again, on the same day, the Scottish Division shared a picture of cupcakes, saying “What better way to start the weekend than some free cupcakes to celebrate winning “Charity of the Year” at the 2019 European Diversity Awards”
Given my career in Psychiatry is about to come to an end, this seems like a reasonable time to offer some reflections on ‘workforce wellbeing’. I have chosen to fully retire as an NHS doctor because of the approach that the Royal College of Psychiatrists has taken to my advocacy for ethics in medicine. This has included marginalisation, attempts to discredit me, and not responding to my communications. I have witnessed a similar approach taken by the College to those who have had less than positive experiences of psychiatry. My worry is that, if this College approach continues, necessary opportunities to learn will be lost, patient harm may result, and the College reputation will be tarnished. As a result, recruitment difficulties may not be effectively addressed and the “vicious circle” that the President refers to will continue.
I do understand that some of the ethical issues that I have raised with the College may be challenging in nature. However my experience has been that the College hierarchy does not always uphold its own stated values of respect and fairness.
Footnote: The Royal College of Psychiatrists did not reply to my letter of resignation from last November, and has also not replied to my recent letter informing the College why I have decided to fully retire aged 52 years.